I realize that speech and language are complex matters full of subjectivity, so I try not to spend too much effort on policing the word usage of others.  That said, I really dislike the current online vernacular usage of “insane” as a universal adjective/intensifier.  It feels trite, meaningless and worst of all, overused, leaving me less interested in whatever is being described, which is the death knell for click bait.  There are a number of words that I overuse, I am aware, but the ubiquity of “insane” both puzzles and infuriates me, leading to today’s baffling query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has one weird trick for faster browsing, asking: Which single word that no longer means what you think it means would you most like stricken from the language?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

2 Comments

  1. Daniel Langsdale on

    ‘They/their/theirs’ used to represent a person in the singular. It’s worse than the royal ‘we.’ Am I old and out of touch? Maybe. Probably. But I prefer using words to communicate and clarify, and not in ways that introduce ambiguity. We get new words all the time for new or newly popularized concepts, and a new pronoun needs to be coined for non-cisgendered people in the singular, just as “cisgendered” itself was coined only within recent decades.

    • Yeah, there hasn’t been an established “new” gender-neutral pronoun yet, so until those who would be addressed as such come to a consensus as to what that is, “they/them/theirs” is the closest thing the english language has and i will continue to do my best to adhere to that for whoever needs it. It’s definitely janky, but again…it’s not like non-binary folks asked to exist in this weird cisgender patriarchal language system establish by old white men in powdered wigs 700 years ago. The less chances for folks to feel “undefinable” or unseen or further othered, the better life will be.

      Obvious racist/misogynist/lgbtq-phobic words aside, i personally would like to see the hyperbolic context of words like “epic” and “iconic” get stricken from the record. The words themselves are fine, but this new tumblr/twitter recontextualization of “epic” means kinda rubs me the wrong way. But then again i grew up in an era where “awesome” and “radical” were acceptable terms for “something that’s pretty good,” so i guess i just have to shuffle my walker over to the slow lane and let relevant society mangle their own words to express how good last night’s episode of Pretty Little Liars was

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