Friday, January 22, 2010

EDITORIAL: Expressions That Piss Me Off

THERE ARE TIMES when I cannot stand the way people have butchered the English language. For instance, using an apostrophe to denote a plural "s". I was saved from getting a tattoo by seeing the sign on the tattoo parlor. It said: TATTOO'S HERE. In neon, no less. Well, unless there was someone named "tattoo" on the premises, the guy who made the sign was a dumbass. Here is the diff: "I dropped the boat's anchor" is perfectly good English. "I saw lots of boat's at the harbor" is the handiwork of a dumbass. I did not want some dumbass drawing permanent pictures on me, so I passed.

Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh. After all, my late father, a highly respected senior engineer with NCR back when NCR used to really be something, still spelled "clothes" "cloths". Still...

BUT WHAT REALLY GETS MY GOAT is the expressions people use these days to make themselves sound spohisticated, weasel out of actually saying anything, etc. Such as:

"I HAVE ISSUES". What the speaker really means is that he has a problem or a difference with something. What an "issue" really is, is (1) a point of political contention (the transportation issue, the war issue, the gun issue) (2) An iisue of a magazine or a newspaper or (3) a kid (the issue of the marriage). AN ISSUE IS NOT A GODDAMNED PERSONAL PROBLEM. Why do people say "issue" when they mean "problem"?
Well, my guess is it is either because they are so egomaniacal that they think their problem deserves to be debated by all and sundry (a la a political issue); or out of "politeness" ("he has issues" sounds less mean than "he's nuts", but that is negated when - as is often the case - the comment is made with the same snideness; in which the speaker just wants to sound sophisticated); or else because the speaker doesn't want to admit he has a "problem".
This misuse of the word "issues" has gone so far that at the gun range a few months ago a guy told me his pistol had "developed jamming issues". I told him I did not know a pistol could produce a music magazine. Correctly, the pistol had developed a problem with jamming. Maybe it was a cleaning issue.

"ANGER MANAGEMENT". This is a trendy piece of bullshit. "Anger management" classes are touchy-feely seminars where it is taught that all anger is bad. Usually people get sent to these after they have beaten the crap out of someone. "Anger management" classses are usually tought by some foofer who says crap like "anger is the result of feeling helpless and impotent"; as if a helpless impotent person could kick the crap out of someone.
Now not every time one gets angry at another is an occasion to express it with violence, but often anger is a good thing. If you pull a knife on me and demand my money, I will get very angry indeed, and will likely produce my firearm and (if you do not immediately turn and flee) shoot you. A lot of people in Massachussetts this week got angry as all hell and replaced Ted Kennedy with a Republican.
But you are not supposed to hit someone just because you think they cheated on a board game. This you were supposed to have learned by the time you finished kindergarten. And if not, then you should be fined and/or jailed until you do.



STUPID STUPID STUPID! "To err" means to make a mistake. This expression translates to: "I think we should deliberately make a mistake in order to be careful". How the fucking hell do you do that? How is it even possible to deliberately err?
This is the ultimate weasel phrase, and it is commonly used by politicians. Like the other two expresions, it is meant to present a mundane idea forth in a way that sounds sophisticated. But this one takes first prize for being possibly the dumbest thing any non-retarded adult has ever uttered.

1 comment:

Marshall said...

"Err on the side of caution".

The phrase assumes the platitude "to err is human", essentially arguing that it is inevitable and unavoidable that one will err. Therefore, if one cannot avoid erring, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Get it?



Blog Archive