March 12, 2007

Don’t Use These Expressions In My Vicinity Or I Won’t Be Responsible

1. Back in the day. You are not black, and you never will be, no matter how hard you try. I can tell you’re not, because if you were you would have stopped saying this ten years ago.

2. Icon or Iconic to describe living human beings. Have you been chrismated into the Orthodox Church, that you see icons everywhere? Congratulations, and God be with you!

3. Courageous, as a description of writing or art. Is that blank page going to shoot you? Quick, rip it to shreds!

4. Generous, as a description of same. Oh really, what percent of his royalties is the author giving to charity?

5. Luminous or astonishing as descriptions of same. These two have been hobbyhorses of mine for twenty years -- which shows how lame the critics are who still use them. I was delighted to see Joe Queenan strike them down in the NYT a couple of months ago. (Subscription necessary, I think.)

6. Impact as a verb. Try it and I’ll impact your bicuspids.

7. Notion instead of idea. Unless, of course, you don’t have ideas.

8. Folks, instead of people. When did people with graduate degrees start going hayseed? I think it was in the 90s, some time after all fathers became dads and all mothers became moms and all political candidates started being called by nicknames. The infantilization of a great people continues unabated.

9. Kinda, sorta. See comments under “folks.” You are not one of der volk, Herr Professor. In fact, if you went among der volk, they would kinda sorta run you out of town.

10. Incredible, meaning “of high excellence,” as in “I just read the most incredible book.” If you don’t believe what’s in the book, why do you think I should read it?

11. Any adjective constituted of the suffix –ass appended to another adjective, as in “a bigass burrito.” And you expect me to eat that thing? De gustibus and all that, of course, old chap, but…no thanks, I’ll pass.