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I've been seeing this phrase pop up more and more in social media.

I wasn't sure of what it meant, so of course I googled it:

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/7417055/best-worst-words-2014

http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/a-brief-history-of-bad-sports-writing-64380

I'm still not quite understanding the meaning and origin. Can anyone help?

  • I've always assumed it relates to activities in a recording or movie studio, where a "take" is one attempt at recording a track or scene, and "hot" means simply "just recorded". – Hot Licks Dec 8 '17 at 21:57
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For the meaning:

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hot take

An opinion based on simplistic moralizing rather than actual thought. Not to be confused with a strong take.

Urban Dictionary

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hot take

An opinion piece that features an author making bold, broad, and subjective moral generalizations on a situation with little or no original analysis or insight.

Wikipedia

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Here's a clip from an article on Pitchfork.com (a music website) dealing with millenials and nostalgia for music of the late 90's that uses the term:

Third Eye Blind and Dashboard Confessional—both de facto one-man rock bands who kick off a joint tour this month—is the latest flashpoint of Millennial nostalgia to hit the summer concert circuit. It’s a curious cultural phenomena that belies at least one aspect of the glib headlines and narratives of hot takes about the impatience, entitled attitudes, and shortsightedness of so-called Millennials.

In the article, "hot takes" is linked to an opinion column that deals with millennials "whining" about their lack of opportunities in the professional world. The Bloomberg article, by Pitchfork's estimation, is a "hot take": an opinion piece that uses the writer's personal anecdote and some pithy, overly-simplistic, historicizing to argue against millennial angst. It says things like,

I was also pointed yesterday to the “Old Economy Steve”meme, which celebrates/laments the ease with which prior generations graduated from college, got hired into a good job with health insurance, lifetime employment, a pension or at least a 401(k), became a homeowner at a tender age, and so forth[...]

And as someone who lived through the brief golden era of the late 1990s, and has done a bit of research into the lengthier imagined golden era, let me point out that a few of us do have a bit of an idea about student debt, underemployment and lifelong renting. The good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow’s not as bad as it seems.

That’s a line from a Billy Joel song, by the way. Billy Joel was a famous musician, back in that magical fairyland of excellent jobs with lush benefits from which no one ever got fired.

The Bloomberg piece goes on to relate the personal career path of the writer--a gen-Xer who just like the millennial struggled to make her way--to show that Americans have always struggled and millennials should count their blessings. Along with describing the writer's tortuous path to success, it includes pithy statements like this,

Message from the Universe: you got an above-average deal the minute you were born in America in the late 20th century, instead of in Europe in the middle of the Black Death, or in Angola in the middle of a civil war. Anything you get on top of that is strictly bonus -- and that goes double for middle-class college graduates.

The piece considers the plights of different generations to find professional success in terms of personal anecdotes. As well it makes superficial insights into the broader and more complex factors of success in America (race, class, gender), like the following,

Blacks certainly weren’t having an easy time of anything, nor were Mexicans, nor American Indians, nor Asians, nor women -- who were paid less than married men for the same work as a matter of policy and mostly couldn’t get the same work.

The entire piece dusts over if and why there is validity in millennials feeling the angst that they do because, as the writer says, they're all a "pack of whiners".

The off-the-cuff approach to the writing, even if the piece employs some statistical analysis of things like amounts of tenured employees of both men and women, keeps the opinion, the "take", firmly in the columnist's purview.

The column furthers its brazen and slighting approach through an informal register and use of imprecise language:

In other words, while it’s true that there are fewer guarantees than there used to be, it’s not true that everyone in the good old days had an easy path to lifetime employment.

It even carries on the informal slighting when the columnist is trying to show compassion:

Is the job market unusually bad right now for millennials? It sure is, and believe me, millennials have nothing but the deepest sympathy from me and our hypothetical. Life seems scary, and y’all don’t deserve this.

The piece is at its core an opinion piece, but one that's using a slew of anecdotal evidence and over-simplified historicizing to put people, millennials, in their place. That's what qualifies it as a hot take, by my estimation. It's "hot" and aggressive, but it's not thorough, there's no depth--it's just a take.

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The expression appears to come from the world of journalism and to have a very recent origin, both sources refer to its usage from 2014.

Hot take, what it means and where it came from:

  • Also known as smart takes, hot takes come from the world of journalism. They refer to the pieces written when big news breaks. The Awl's Jon Herman explained the idea of takes — hot, smart, dumb, silly — in September during the nude celebrity hack of 2014:

    • In such a situation the internet's craving for sex and humiliation is effectively infinite. This throws the Content industry into a frantic generative mode, initiating a full-spectrum stress test on par with a natural disaster or a war. This weekend was a consumption bonanza, a historic seller's market for Content was no time for mere reports and analysis, no, that would never be enough. It was Take Time.

(Www.vox.com)

Hot take:

A An opinion piece that features an author making bold, broad, and subjective moral generalizations on a situation with little or no original analysis or insight.

  • 2014 Jully 11, "Denver Post Columnist Writes The Hottest LeBron Take Ever" Drew Magary, Deadspin.com:

    • "We need a hero. We need the boldest, hottest take possible, issued without apology, and without ANY kind of self-awareness. We need Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla, who yesterday issued the Last Supper of hot takes[...]"

(Wiktionary)

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