Spring is almost over and it’s time for a cultural housecleaning, getting rid of the useless to make way for new ideas and less obscure language and discourse. It’s time for a yard sale of people, words/terms, and situations that have jammed up the 21st Century before it’s even gotten a running start. Let’s redefine our terms and then eradicate them from all conversation. Sure, it sounds like a rant, but somebody’s got to speak up. Are you with me?
Absolutely/exactly: Nothing is absolute except death and chaos, and I have my doubts about death. You agree? Exactly. Dude, we are so on the same page.
Amazing: Four ducks dancing to “Single Ladies” on YouTube is not amazing. Pulling a live duck out of your pants is. Know the difference.
App: A marvelous way to spend money on a technologically wonderful way do something, like figure out a 15% tip or locate your own hall closet.
BFF: Remember your best friend forever in high school? Us either. Lose it, please. Only one thing lasts “forever,” and that’s the drunken, naked photo of you that someone posted on Facebook.
Brand: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Proctor & Gamble are brands; Judd Apatow is not (nor is Russell Brand for that matter). You are not a brand. Now stop it.
Closure: In real life there is no closure. In real life, everything overlaps. Life is a laundry basket of unresolved conflicts, wrinkly and icky. Adjust.
Epic: Beowulf and The Divine Comedy are epic. Friday night’s kegger or your trip to the outlet mall isn’t.
Founding Fathers: Never before have so many brilliant, fascinating, and difficult personalities been clustered like a Pop Warner football team, and then quoted (or misquoted) to sound like a Vince Lombardi halftime speech. Remember that the break from tyranny was a risky, noble, and expansively hopeful experiment, to be either proven or disproved. The experiment continues. Either deal with these great leaders individually, accurately, and in context or stick with the freely truncated “Anonymous.”
“-gate” as a suffix (i.e.: Weinergate): A parasitic shorthand attachment to a host that stopped breathing a l-o-n-g time ago.
Great: No longer connoting something extraordinary or superlative, it’s now required shorthand for “pretty good.” Or “I don’t know.” Or, “Too drunk to care.”
High Concept: A movie story so unbelievably, passionately epic that it’s, like, amazing.
Icon/Iconic: When Quentin Tarantino, Margaret Thatcher, and Bon Jovi are called iconic, then by 2020 we all will be icons. Every last one of us.
iNouns: (iPod, iPad, iWhatever): Something that implies a self-defining technology that will make you one of 250 million other people with too much disposable income.
Intellectual Property: Lawyer porn. That which is intellectual is not property, and that which is property is not intellectual. Discuss, but not where anyone has to hear you.
It’s about…(“It’s about freedom,” or, “It’s about knowing your limits”): A shorthand means for summing up something that might tax one’s command of the finer details of a discussion. Usually connotes exactly the opposite.
It is what it is: Yeah, and…?
Legend/Legendary: See “Icon.” That which has been recognized for about 20 minutes.
Like: No longer a term for comparison, it’s a space-filler for lazy speakers (“He didn’t, like, go because he was, like, tired.”), with the onus placed on the listener to assign tone, adjectives, verbs, intensity, and meaning. Avoid these people.
Marriage: A lifelong legal commitment, made in love and devotion, between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and woman. Now, pull back your puny shoulders and get past it.
“My” as a prefix (MyChecking, MyBenefits, MyDental): It’s the corporate all-about-you term for something that’s not about you at all.
“My truth”: There is no quantifiable truth that is singularly yours; you’re either near it, or away from it, but it’s not yours to claim. All “my truth” does is close the door to conversation or opposition. Knock it off. Our truth can beat up your truth.
No problem or No worries: Dismissive substitutes for “you’re welcome.” Designates that you are approaching someone’s threshold for being nice, and they’re not about to give you that kind of satisfaction, are they?
Passionate: A self-flattering Match.com way of saying, “obsessed.”
Politically Correct: Reductionist term for the humorless blender that turns everything remotely interesting into a cultural smoothie. There is nothing correct that is political, and nothing political that is correct.
Reality: It’s that long stretch of grey, soul-grinding tedium that takes place between awakening and dozing off in front of Bridezilla.
Retro: Hip, ironic term for a style you never experienced first-hand but are desperate to desecrate. Also describes anyone’s thinking other than your own.
Same Page, The: A veiled plea to fall into line (i.e.: “Let’s get on the same page here.”) Well, maybe the rest of us just read faster than you do. Catch up. We’ll wait.
Soulmate: The person you’re hunkering for at 11 pm while in the checkout line with 24 cans of Fancy Feast and a quart of Ben & Jerry’s. Also a synonym for “hostage.”
Spontaneous: Match.com shorthand meaning ADHD with borderline tendencies.
Totally: An adverb of over-agreement that means “I guess,” or “I so didn’t hear what you said.”
Win-Win: Come on. In the end, somebody’s always pissed.