Let's start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.
The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself.
I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
You probably know it better, however, as explanation by way of Internet—explanation that maximizes efficiency and irony in equal measure. I'm late because YouTube. You're reading this because procrastination. As the linguist Stan Carey delightfully sums it up: "'Because' has become a preposition, because grammar."
Indeed. So we get uses like this, from Wonkette:
Well here is a nice young man, Fred E. Ray Smith, running for Oklahoma state Senate, from jail, where he was taken for warrants and drunk driving and driving without a license or registration, and also he owes so much child support and his ex has a protective order out against him. We assume he is going to win, because “R-Oklahoma.”
And like this, from the Daily Kos:
If due north was good enough for that chicken's parents and grandparents and great-great-great-great-grandparents, it's good enough for that chicken too, damn it. But Iowa still wants to sell eggs to California, because money.
And like this, from Lindy West and Jezebel:
Did you hear the big news? Men are going extinct. Really really slowly, and probably only in theory, but extinct nonetheless! [...]Lame! RIP, dudes! Now, I'm sure kneejerk anti-feminist dickwads think that the eradication of men is exactly what we women mean by "plz can we have equal rights now thx." Because logic.
It's a usage, in other words, that is exceptionally bloggy and aggressively casual and implicitly ironic. And also highly adaptable. Carey has unearthed instances of the "because-noun" construction with the noun in question being, among other terms, "science, math, people, art, reasons, comedy, bacon, ineptitude, fun, patriarchy, politics, school, intersectionality, and winner." (Intersectionality! Because THEORY. Bacon! Because BACON.)
But the formulation isn't simply limited to nouns. Carey again:
The construction is more versatile than “because+noun” suggests. Prepositional because can be yoked to verbs (Can’t talk now because cooking), adjectives (making up examples because lazy), interjections (Because yay!), and maybe adverbs too, though in strings like Because honestly., the adverb is functioning more as an exclamation. The resulting phrases are all similarly succinct and expressive.
Which is to say, the "because-noun" form is limited only to the confines of your own imagination. It can be anything you want it to be. So we get comments like these, with people using "because" not just to explain, but also to criticize, and sensationalize, and ironize:
By Megan garber