Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Banned Vocabulary Words!

Before Matt Groening was the Simpsons guy, he did a cartoon called Life in Hell which I read in the Village Voice. (Religiously. It was on the same page as my also-beloved Ernie Pook's Comeek.) Plots of the strips usually centered around Akbar and Jeff, two fellas in Charlie Brown shirts and fezzes, or a passel of maladjusted bunnies – but sometimes Groening would just talk directly to us, the readers.

Ferinstance, about once a year he'd print a list of words and phrases that had quickly become hot, then overused -- and were therefore verboten in the upcoming year. I don't know if these are collected in any of the books, so I'm working from memory here: He'd object to the over use of "uber-", say, or "ersatz," when hipster publications got too zanily reliant on these fangled terms. (He'd probably have banned "ferinstance," "verboten," and "fangled" at some point.) (And let's just not mention "zanily.")

I once had a tryout at a weekly metro events-listing magazine, and they had an extensive bible with several single-spaced pages of overused hipster lingo of the same sort.

So, without further ado, here are the terms I'm banning from my own writing, simply because I'm hearing them so much, they're becoming not just cliché, but lazy-butt go-tos. I've been relying on them too much. You might be, too.
  • "That's just disturbing." Please tell me what you really mean, because this is just vague.
  • "If by TK you mean OPPOSITE TK." I'm guilty of using this endlessly, and it's losing its flavor quicker than a stick of fruit-striped gum.
  • "I hate TK with a white-hot flame." Is that exactly how much? Can you think of no better analogy? God, Ihate this one… with uh… with… I just hate it a lot.
  • "throw up in my mouth." A moment in the word processor, a lifetime in every snarkster's vocabulary. Was funny exactly once, when Marcia Brady Stiller said it.

Add yours, please!

1 comment:

the beige one said...

Dunno if it counts, but anytime I hear the phrase "love ya, mean it" I wanna get all violent with people. It's just so...grrr.