A Brief History of the Word ‘Rad’


Dong a backside grind on the Wild mini ramp in 1987, Goleta, California. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Hearing teenagers in purple flannels call their soy mochas “rad” perfectly illustrates the mechanisms behind the regurgitating cow stomach that is American pop culture. Not that that’s a bad thing — “nothing new under the sun” and all yields innovative hybrids — but the feedback loop of fashion really strikes a nerve when what was new in your youth becomes another generation’s vintage…