“Frontier Squad Goals,” by Cora Frazier. The New Yorker, 2/29/2016.
This short, hilarious fictional article from The New Yorker alerted me to the growing (for now) use of the term “squad goals.” Like many of their cryptic cartoons, they stretch the readers interests into new areas of knowledge. I had to Google “squad goals” to learn its meaning, as I’m sure many other readers did. In this case, how the phrase is used is as important as what it means.
A “squad” is any social group you are part of, even temporarily, or even of strangers, as fellow passengers on a train would be. The goal is something you are suggesting they all do or have done, ending it with “Squad goal.”
An example can explain it easier than a description: Say you want to suggest to a couple of friends that you all go into Philly’s Chinatown by train for lunch. Your email could read, “Tomorrow should be rainy, so lets SEPTA into Philly for some General Tso. Squad goal.”
Then, say, the train stops for seemingly no reason midway between Darby and University City. You could then announce to the car of strangers, “I’ll get the conductor and find out what’s the delay. Squad goal.” This indicates you all share the bond of the mysterious delay.
Then, when you arrive at the restaurant, you can take a selfie of you and your friends over your General Tso, and label the photo “Squad Goal.”
(The meaning did not slowly evolve. The phrase suddenly appeared like a paintball hitting a tree, and many use it however they want. The common thread seems to be that it indicates an action by a group sharing some sort of a bond.)
I want to post this quickly because the term will soon be gone, taken over—and thereby killed—by the more administrative-minded among us. I can just picture a morning business meeting where the boss, attempting to give a hip spin to his boring message, will say something like, “So we all need to be more attentive to our customer’s needs. Squad goal.”
The faint squeaking noise you hear will be the closing of the casket lid. I kid you not.