Words I Hate

I just finished listening to Jonah Goldberg’s Tyranny of Clichés and enjoyed it a lot. This post was inspired by it. I may add words from time to time.

War on…

When you disagree with the Left and offer a solution to something that doesn’t involve the government, you are waging a war on it. It wasn’t always used that way. I think it started with “The War On Poverty,” but I don’t know. The Right has latched on as well. The first right-wing usage I can think of being “The War On Christmas” but again, I don’t know and don’t care to look it up.

Dynamic/vibrant

Used to describe women in suits/purple dreadlocks with job titles like “Senior Vice President of Diversity Coordination” or “trauma-sensitive yoga instructor, educator and proud Boricua 2nd generation queer femme.” Also used to describe neighborhoods where brown people hang out on stoops and big, colorful murals of other brown people grace the walls of liquor stores.

When you can’t stand said busybody but she has managed to get into a position of power over you, just say she is “a dynamic individual” and you will have successfully weaseled your way out of saying what you actually think and not having to come up with something good to say about her.

When discussing the pitiful condition of urban life in some of America’s big cities, be sure to say these neighborhoods are “vibrant” so you don’t have to bring attention to how run down it is and that you wouldn’t want to walk around there at night.

Conversation

When anyone says “we need to have a national conversation about” something, it means shut up, stop challenging me and accept everything I want to do. Having a conversation, beginning a dialogue, making your voice heard etc., usually means there is a conclusion in place and we need to work backwards.

“It’s open season on young, black males,” we are told. For our “national conversation,” let’s start there and converse in reverse. But let’s keep out of the conversation any statistics or behavioral trends that may contradict the conclusion.

Raising Awareness

It’s fine to raise awareness for things. But for the love of God stop saying it. Just do it and don’t make it an end in and of itself.

Stuff White People Like said it best so I will just repeat:

This belief allows them to feel that sweet self-satisfaction without actually having to solve anything or face any difficult challenges.  Because, the only challenge of raising awareness is people not being aware.  In a worst case scenario, if you fail someone doesn’t know about the problem.  End of story.

Raising awareness is also awesome because once you raise awareness to an acceptable, aribtrary level, you can just back off and say “Bam! did my part.  Now it’s your turn.  Fix it.”

So to summarize – you get all the benefits of helping (self satisfaction, telling other people) but no need for difficult decisions or the ensuing criticism (how do you criticize awareness?).  Once again, white people find a way to score that sweet double victory.

Popular things to be aware of: The Environment, Diseases like Cancer and AIDS, Africa, Poverty, Anorexia, Homophobia,  Midde School Field Hockey/Lacrosse teams, Drug Rehab, and political prisoners.

Now!/! (exclamation points)

Adding “Now!” or an exclamation point to the end of something takes a completely unworkable demand and makes it even worse. Democracy Now! is hit or miss, but watching Amy Goodman gives me the feeling that paramilitary government agents are going to crash through the windows at any moment from ropes tied to a black helicopter and shut down the whole channel. Is it the exclamation point? I guess Let’s Have Discussions That Promote Progressive/Democratic Ideals took too long to say.

Problematic

See above “vibrant/dynamic” for a “problematic” definition. If something is problematic, chances are you are probably talking to a college student or recent graduate and you are saying something true and it makes them uncomfortable.

Disenfranchised

This word gets misused a lot as a synonym for poor, unlucky or generally lacking in opportunity. But this word has one specific definition – being prohibited from voting. For example, this Huffington Post article asks ‘who is the most disenfranchised group in America?’ “It is America’s teens. With each passing minute, their future is being foreclosed upon thanks to the unfathomable debt being dumped on them by the sorry adults governing the country these last 40 years.”

It’s a good and important article, but it has nothing to do with disenfranchisement. His students will inherit inconceivable national debt, an unstable world scene and other challenges, but they will all have the right to vote when they turn 18 (unless they go to prison).

Community

Holistic

None of that stiff, sterile, fluorescent light, stainless steel, white coat stuff. You need some scented candles, herbs, earth tone rugs and sitar music in the background.

So

Sooo I don’t know how this started, but I think it came from Australia or New Zealand because I used to only hear it from them. But like many annoying speech affectations, it could very well have started in my native California. So, the people who use it most are professors/researchers, government officials, young techies and NPR hosts. So, just one example, I asked a website designer to make some changes to a page and he responded

“Hi,

so we have made the requested changes to the homepage layout as per: (website name)”

So there are two types, a “so” that comes at the beginning and the “dangling so.” There is a proper way to begin a sentence with so. It’s when you’re explaining something, you’ve given some background or some causes, and then you go into the effects or the results. I’m not talking about that “so.” The one I hate is the snobby so that comes at the front of a new thought.

Ask the above mentioned people: “What does this gadget do?/What are your research findings?/Does this new law include funding for…?”

They answer: “So, we’re really here to listen to me talk.” “So, now that you’re done, I’m just going to say the thing I wanted to say.” “So, I’m not being led by you, I don’t actually answer to you.” “So, I’m doing you a favor by filling you in, really.” “So, I’m the smart one/expert here and I’ll do the talking, so…”

So the second one is the “dangling so.” This is a way of bragging without openly bragging. “I just got a pretty big Christmas bonus, so…” It’s related to “so yeah” and “so there!” but it’s more passive aggressive.

I just want you to know I really hate it, so…

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