Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Defining the Hock

Previously in the blog-o-sphere...
Sem questionedSIW's article on Shaytlach. in the comments, SIW responded. Sem responded to SIW & then went on to suggest a difference b/w Hockers & Journalists. SIW responded. Sem responded to SIW. Doubletongued asked SIW what Hocking was. SIW defined. AJH/Butler criticized. Zalman defined. Sem criticized.

I tried to find a copy of Frumspeak, but could not find it. So here is my attempt to hock on hock.
Hocking has two different, though related, meanings in YU vs. Brooklyn/Yeshivish circles. Hocker originated in Yeshivish/Brooklyn circles meaning a self-important individual, (related to a tutzach or a macher). In such a hierarchical culture, people need to feel important by doing things like joining hatzalah, being well connected, wearing designer clothes, having the latest electronic gear (phone, beepers, etc.), etc. and being in the know. It is also importtant that any non-Torah dicussion would be considered bittul Torah (e.g. blabbering or hocking).
The word was reclaimed by YU (presumably via its more Yeshivish/KBY element), but like all Yeshivish mannerisms picked up by YU, they tend to be somewhat modifed. It use included both its definition as non-Talmud Torah discussion (often inside information) and Hockers as the self-important individuals. In YU, "Hock" included reid (lit. language) (i.e. lowdown). And as YU is not limited to the Bais Medrash Hock included not only the lowdown about politics, gossip, etc., but also academic reid, political reid, learning, etc. Hockers, in this context are insiders who know this information as mentioned by SIW. But outside of YU & those who graduated from there, it still maintains a more macher or tutzach connotation.
It's a stab at a definition (and admittedly, not a great one).

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