LORELAI: You know, you should meet my daughter. She’s about your age. She can show you where all the good wilding goes on . . .

“Wilding” is an American term which gained media use in the 1980s and ’90s to describe gangs of teenage gangs committing violent acts. It is no longer often used.

The word has an ugly history, coined during the Central Park jogger case of 1989, after a white female jogger was assaulted and raped in Manhattan’s Central Park. Five black and Latino juveniles were convicted of the crime, police contending that the boys said they were “wilding” in the park, the police taking this to mean committing violence.

This has been disputed as a (wilful?) misunderstanding by the police. Other theories are that the boys were repeating the lyrics to the Tone Loc song, “The Wild Thing”, or that they said they were “wiling”, meaning “hanging out, whiling away the time”.

The boys served sentences of between six to twelve years, and all later had their charges vacated after a serial rapist and murderer confessed to the crime while in prison. This was in 2002, so after this episode aired (Lorelai doesn’t know she is referencing falsely imprisoned schoolboys).

So far, Lorelai has linked Jess with prisoners and the Mafia, and joked that he may be going out to hold up a liquor store. Once she actually meets him, she connects him with violent gang rape. At this point, her “jokes” about Jess have become openly hostile, and quite nasty.

As Lorelai has joked about a violent gang rape, and used a word with a racist history to Jess, I wonder if this is when he decided he didn’t like Lorelai very much?

3 thoughts on “Wilding

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