You can’t escape the phenomenon of YOLO even if you wanted to. The highly popularized acronym, short for "You Only Live Once," is everywhere. You can find it on shirts, hats, bumper stickers, all over social media, even shouted by drunk revelers, as it has become the unfortunate motto of 2012 (one we wish would end…). You can’t even escape it when listening to the radio: Drake helped spur the phrase’s popularity in his 2011 song "The Motto," which featured Lil Wayne.
Now, it seems as if Drake thinks he actually came up with the acronym, and wants to cash in on its unfortunate popularity. The 26-year-old rapper posted this Instagram of hats with the acronym being sold, saying, “Walgreens....you gotta either chill or cut the cheque.” He then posted this Instagram of a Charlie Brown shirt branded with the term, adding, “Macy's...same goes for you.”
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Drake, you need to calm down. You didn’t trademark YOLO. In fact, you weren’t even the first person to say it! The U.S. Trademark database actually shows several earlier attempts to use YOLO commercially. A company selling T-shirts, tank tops, hats, and sweatshirts filed an application in 1993 to obtain a trademark for YOLO. That filing was abandoned a year later, but other companies filed for trademarks or service marks incorporating YOLO and “You Only Live Once” for products like artificial suntanning, sportswear, and driver safety pamphlets, among others.
But the acronym – and the meaning behind it – actually has a long history before the '90s, dating all the way back to the 1700s, meaning no one alive today can claim the blame credit for it. While the exact wording changes a bit (with some incarnations employing “we” instead of “you,” or rearranging the order of the words themselves), the meaning is the same throughout history. Let’s take a look back at all the instances we could find of YOLO throughout the years:
Clarissa, the epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson, was published in eight volumes between 1747 and 1749. Richardson wrote, “And it teaches me to be covetous of time; the only thing of which we can be allowably covetous; since we live but once in this world; and when gone, are gone from it for ever.” Though the wording is different, it is in the vernacular of the time, and the meaning is still the same: time is precious, so make it count.
In February of 1837, YOLO turned up in a story published in The Lady’s Magazine and Museum urging readers to behave cautiously to avoid contracting a deadly disease: “Due respect for your prayer, my worthy master; but my principle is, the further from the danger the safer. We only live once; and life itself is so burdensome, and full of care, that it cannot at all be pleasant to be carried out of this world by such a naughty and ugly conveyance as this cholera.” Once again, “we” is used instead of “you,” but the meaning is the same.
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In 1858, a minister in Scotland used YOLO to encourage listeners to be morally upright, and said, “We cannot live always: we can only live once. It is then the dictate not only of piety but of sound philosophy that we lay a good foundation for the time to come.” And one year later, the novel Now or Never used YOLO to encourage the opposite, because life was so short one should act boldly: “Besides, we can only live once. Now or never. The present minute is all we are sure of, and it is best to get the most out of that we can.”
While the Russian novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky was originally written in the 1860s, the English translation was published in 1917. YOLO appeared in the internal dialogue of a character who was attempting to justify murder: “I only live once, I too want.”
In 1937, the film noir You Only Live Once was released, directed by Fritz Lang starring Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sidney.
Comedian Joe E. Lewis popularized the phrase in the '50s, when he famously opened his act by saying, “You only live once, but if you play your cards right, once is enough.” In 1965, Frank Sinatra turned 50 years old, and he quoted Lewis, saying, “I expect to swing for 50 more. You only live once and the way I live, once is enough. I stole that from Joe E. Lewis.”
So you see, Drake, you are hardly the first person to say YOLO, let alone come up with the phrase. You might have popularized the acronym with our generation, but it looks like even our grandparents were saying it back in the day! Drake's going to find himself in a tough battle if he truly pursues getting royalties from the sale of anything with YOLO on it.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo credit: WENN]
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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.