What Exactly is 'Clout?'

I’ll admit…I definitely have worn a pair of clout goggles, and I didn’t have the slightest idea of what it means. So, in an attempt to better educate myself as well as my fellow young wannabe hip people, I’ll be looking at the history of ‘clout’.

One of the first time the word 'clout' was ever used, was by Len O’Connor back in 1975, describing Chicago's Mayor Daley. Mayor Daley was involved in some possibly shady scandals such as the investigation against his nephew and his corrupt Hired Trucks Program. When covering these stories journalist would describe his political influence as ‘clout’. One reporter described his influence as “extend[ing] from City Hall to the White House”, so having clout meant just having extreme influence. Some of the titles of these exposes would be “Clout on Wheels”, and “Clout: Mayor Daley and his City”. This led to the definition of clout becoming “influence or power, especially in politics or business”.

This definition left me scratching my head; how did a word describing a powerful man’s political power, lead to my 15-year-old cousin posting selfies in odd glasses and calling himself a “clout god”?

The answer lies in pop culture. It is now mainstream to not be mainstream. In this context, clout has to do with someone's ability to turn something usually dismissed into trendy. This is the most evident in the creation of clout goggles. Kurt Cobain, who was constantly photographed in the iconic oversized white sunglasses, was not only known for his music but also for his style. His style featured oversized clothes, pj’s as regular wear, gender fluidity, and of course, the sunglasses. Many of the trends he helped start are still immensely popular today, which would mean he has tremendous influence- aka clout.

Courtesy: Grailed

Yet Cobain wasn’t the one to come up with the nickname. Rapper Denzel Curry, who has hits such as “Ultimate”, was the first one to use the phrase clout goggles. In an 8-second video, Curry talked about his oval glasses by saying, "These ain't glasses, baby, these are Clout Goggles". The name was certainly fitting: within 2 weeks of him posting that, Urban dictionary added clout to their dictionary with definitions like, “Clout is being famous and having influence”, as well as, “clout is a cancerous word only said by edgy 13-year-olds who listen to way too much rap” (both seem equally correct). Even the modern creation of the word ‘clout’ deals with the creator’s clout.

And just like any other great trend, it got meme-ified. The goggles themselves have been relatively easy to get a hold of for prices of less than $20 at stores like Urban Outfitters. Many teens have been seen donning the “wearable meme” to not only to seem trendy, but to also show their ability to disregard normal fashion (again not being mainstream is mainstream). While memes do typically burn out pretty fast, I hope the clout meme has enough clout to keeping on clouting.

Courtesy: Astrologymemes