Friday, January 8, 2010

Seven sayings...

Okay, I admit.  When I was young and immature I was a fan of George Carlin.  He was funny, but now I wonder why young people (and even older ones) find gutter humor funny.  (Don't get me wrong, Carlin was a genius, and had a few great skits, just too much crudeness for my older, wiser, Christian self.)  One his most famous skits was called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV”, in which he proceeds to use the foulest language imaginable.  Sadly, many of those things are now used in conversation as if they were never thought of as bad words!  But I digress...

I thought I would herewith propose seven things I wish we would stop using in writing and speaking.  These are not bad, just overused.
  1. Adding Adverbs to Adverbs-- Admittedly, adverbs are necessary, but repeating them or using more than one is aggravating.  I cringe when watching the news and a reporter says “very, very”.  I realize this happens during “off the cuff” moments, and not in scripted reporting.  But why not use that brain that got them through journalism school and come up with another adverb like “extremely”? Why don’t these paragons of intelligence (written tongue in cheek) open a thesaurus in their free time?
  2. Arguably-- Speaking of adverbs, this one has got to go.  It’s become the buzzword of bloggers.  Whatever happened to the good old stand by words like “definitely” or “in fact”?
  3. Simply-- I know, I am picking on adverbs here. But this word is so overused in advertising.  “Simply call 1-800...” is a line that makes me laugh.  Calling toll free numbers now-a-days is not a simple task, unless you know how to get around the voice prompts.  (I have found that pressing 0 three times usually gets you directly to the customer service line, and you get to talk to a real person!)  How many times have I had to enter a ten-digit account number , only to have to repeat it to the representative who finally gets my call?   Sometimes this word “simply” is added to instructions that are so convoluted that it takes an engineer to figure it out.
  4. “Deja vu all over again.” Yes, Yogi Berra was a funny guy, and had many of these cute sayings. But it is getting tiresome to have every sports announcer on the planet saying this at least once in every broadcast.
  5. God’s name in swearing-- This was not one of Carlin’s seven, but I remember when I worked in radio, we had to bleep it out if we heard it.  Live call in shows have to have a six-second delay in order to give the deejay time to push the bleep button.  I wish I could do so for written work before I have to read it.  It is terrible that in print “g--d---” is allowed, but the Anglo-Saxon versions of excrement or sexual intercourse are not.  No, I do not advocate allowing them, just blanking out God’s name when used in a profane manner.
  6. Profanity-- Not only God’s name, but the f-bomb and other “vulgarities” have entered into the mainstream conversation.  I remember when “those words” were not said around women and children, but now it is the women and children using them!  Granted, such words are not evil in and of themselves, but in the 1000 or so years since the Normans conquered the Angles and Saxons, the words used by the latter have been frowned upon.  Yes, even children used those words in the dark ages before William the Conqueror and his hordes invaded and won the Battle of Hastings.   And since the Frenchification of the nobility in England, we do not use them in polite conversation.  I guess America is rebelling still against the British nobility by using language the nobles would not use.
  7. Obama-- I had to find a seventh word to keep up with Carlin, so here it is.  I await 20 January 2013, the day when he is no  longer president.
O, friends, let us simply procure to be very, very careful in our speach, which is arguably one of the hardest things to do.


Paul Wynn said...

George Carlin was great! Wity and abrasive is how comedy should be

Peter L said...

Agreed, Paul. But humor which is crude and filled with sexual innuendo I can do without.