by RIP RENSE
Oct. 26, 2005
What is more cripplingly ironic than
Madonna’s recent condemnation of television as a destructive waste of
life? Why, it’s human beings’ use of language, of course. Here the pawing
beasts have access to all manner of dictionary, encyclopedia, even Internet
wikipedias, yet they insist on grunting and snorting.
Thank goodness for the Lingo
Czar, ever present to irk and annoy and flail impotently at the everday
babble of everyday rabble.
citizens are hereby advised to avoid using the following worn-out phrases,
buffoonish slang, buzzwords, mistakes and mispronunciations infecting and
muddling clear and dignified communication in this, the alleged 21st
century. They are rated "T" (trite), "A" (asinine), "P" (pretentious), "W"
(whoops), and "CP" (criminally prosecutable, with recommended minimum
punishment of one day of self-imposed silence).
the Czar hears a woman having a “so cuuuuuute” fit, he steers a wide
berth---or goes the other way---much as one might when faced with a person
frothing at the mouth. When women go into “so cuuuuuuuuute” mode, they are
dangerous. The rest of the world recedes, dies away, possibly disappears.
They hear nothing. They see nothing. Nothing, except the
baby/kitten/doggie/stuffed toy before them. There could be a fire, or a
bomb, or even Oprah Winfrey, and they would not notice. All the maternal
hormone cylinders are firing at warp-speed. They are silly with deranged
brain chemistry. They do not know time, birth or death. They exist only in
that moment when presented with something innocent looking. Want to talk
politics? You might as well drive backwards on a freeway. Want to ask oh, if
they would like to browse in a bookshop, or if it looks like rain? Are you
nuts? The woman is not even there, having been temporarily supplanted by
another creature altogether, one for whom you and this earthly realm are
parenthetical, a footnote. All program dials are tuned to “reproduce.” And
what’s so goddamn cuuuuuuuuute about babies, anyhow? They look like tiny
bald drunks. They drool. They excrete. They babble and shriek. And all too
soon, they grow into very objectionable adults. Some of whom will say, “so
cuuuuuuuuuuuute!” T, A, CP.
just tack it on to the end of any tacky sentence, and you’re covered! Yes,
make any assertion you like, no matter how tentative, and if you do not get
instant validation from your listener, merely add a sharp “or not,” maybe
with a quick laugh, to add an extra touch of benign. God help you if you
make a concerted statement about something. Can’t have that! Why, it could
upset your writers’group/ coffee klatch/Pilates instructor. Or not. Or
not. T, A,
known as “violent,” this term has been whittled down to two syllables by the
great grotesque gaggle of TeeVee Newsgorgons. There they are, apparently
existing only from the waist up, with their happy-dog eyeballs and weird
quasi-shouting siren-song narration, mutilating syntax the way Judy Miller
mutilated the New York Times’s credibility. Consider alone how the verb, “to
be,” as His Wordliness pointed out in a previous report, is being wiped away
by these lingo lacerators; all sentences are now fragments spoken in
half-present-progressive, as in “The president meeting with reporters today.
. .” Genoverbicide! Poor vi-o-lent, while not as lovely a word as
vi-o-let, has just as many syllables. Or it did, before slavering TeeVee
newsmonsters sunk their fangs into its fetlocks, and ripped out its heart.
“O” no. W, CP.
Johnson took a good swipe at “value” years ago, attempting to start a trend
toward pronouncing it “val-yuh.” Fortunately, this did not spread beyond
Texas and much the south, where language was long ago given up for dead. Now
the real terrorists of society---Corporatemannequins who systematically
murder humanity, individuality, initiative, and replace it with fear-based
Orwellian team-ethos---have zeroed in on “value.” It no longer means
“something of worth.” It means whatever the Corporate Corpse in charge wants
it to mean. It’s a fill-in-the-blank manipulation device. Yes, it sounds
well and good when Corporate Corpse says “we want to give value to our
clients,” but what is this “value?” Why, whatever Corpse wishes---which is
usually a well-kept secret, just to keep Corporate Cogs guessing! What fun!
Thus, when Corporate Cog offers something that Corporate Corpse doesn’t
like, it does not have the right. . . “value.” Consider what Amanda Bennett,
editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, said when she was told to implement
massive cuts and layoffs: "This is a chance to hold everything up to the
light and say, 'What value does this give to the readers?' " Get the game?
As if cutting 15 percent of her staff can give something of “value” to
readers. Of course, given the state of journalism. . .A, CP.
I INVITE YOU/WE
INVITE YOU---This is the new, gentle, politically correct way of
enticing people into listening to your radio show or watching your TeeVee
program. Instead of “be sure and tune in,” or “join us” or “don’t miss” or
“see you at. . .”, many hosts are saying “We invite you.” Well, isn’t that
sweet! We invite you to spend part of your life doing nothing but
listening to/watching us! When you could be oh, studying brain surgery, or
writing a poem, or planting a tree---instead, why don’t you accept that
invitation to sit! We invite you to grow that waist and hind to
gargantuan All-American proportion! We invite you to accept the
illusion that you are doing something, or having an experience, when you are
really having very little experience at all! Certain hosts have gone
invite-you crazy. We invite you to listen. . .we invite your calls. . .we
invite you to join us. . .we invite you to pledge $100. . .we invite you to
take a flying ---- at the mooooooon. . .It’s unctuous, and fake. “We
invite you” suggests that you are being included in something pretty
nifty---yes, you are personally being invited to turn on on the tube and
stare at billionare-ess Oprah Winfrey. The Czar invites “we invite you” to
accept an invitation to take a flying ---- at the moooooon. A, P, CP.
FLICK---Pardon the Czar a moment. (Get me the royal lingo bucket,
please. Oooooooffflooopbbogpfh fpshsssss! Ah, that’s better.) There is
something so insidious here. These sorts of expressions are what dullard
mainstream folk consider innocuous hipspeak, unaware that they feed and
nurture the great Dumbing Down Marketing Machinery. The Czar recalls
recoiling when a female editor once chirped “Chick flick, chick flick” at
the mention of a particular film. Editrix did not realize that this both
confirmed and embraced the marketing design of the film, neglecting
altogether as first priority whether the film was. . .good. And many of the
ninnies who reflexively chant these little cutesy catch-phrases consider
themselves to be egalitarians---who should therefore eschew such sexually
confining tags as “chick flick.” Um. . .are there no roosters who enjoy
“chick flicks” or “chick lit(erature?”) So the implication seems to be that
movies or books which feature lots of women being bitchy or weepy or catty
or immersed in melodramatic entanglements (this seems to be the substance of
most “chick lit” and “chick flicks”) are perfectly fine for women, even if
they are not very sophisticated fare. Gee, how degrading to. . .chicks. T, A,
Czar has harped on this before, but the music was not catchy enough. How is
it that the prevailing pronunciation of “didn’t” (should be DID-nt) has
become “dih-dint?” Well, no doubt the same way that apostrophes are now
employed willy-nilly, like decorative abstraction, and quotation marks are
used for emphasis. Baffled, perplexed, vexed, befuddled, stumped, and
otherwise frightened by the little apostrophe in “didn’t,” young people
resorted to ignoring it and imagining the syllabic divider slash as coming
between the “i” and the “d.” But how is it that teachers didn’t correct dih-dint?
Why didn’t they undo what these kids did? Answer: because most of the ditzy
dunderheads on TeeVee don’t say “didn’t” anymore either. And when they’re
not saying dih-dint, they are making it easier on themselves by eliminating
a syllable, and just scaling things down to “dint.” Listen: “dint” was fine
for Ricky Ricardo, but very few of you play congas and sing “Cuban Pete,” so
don’t do dint. Unless, of course, you are using dint by dint of its proper
definition, which would help dint the damage done by dint. W, A, CP.
Lingo Czar perennial, revisited here because it just will not erode. Of
course, this is of the family of music-related declarations of approval, as
in something “grooves.” The first time the Czar realized the term had been
horrifically miscast was when he spotted “Dole Rocks” signs during the 1996
presidential election. Bob Dole might hawk Viagra, and he might have had a
full face lift and a dye job on hair and eyebrows, but he definitely doesn’t
“rock.” Then there was the very peculiar incident at a screening of the
classic film, “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” at the UCLA Film Archive, in
which the Czar overheard actor John Cusack speak into his cell phone one of
the most improbable sentences every concocted: “Yeah, Dr. Mabuse’s rockin’!”
Mm-hmm. Of course, what Mr. Cusack was imparting was “the film is well
along, and I’m enjoying it.” But to have spoken in this manner would have
cast him as apart from the flock, which brings up the salient point here.
Those who use this sort of infantile, sillyass language imagine they are
being hip, when in fact they are being dullard conformists---much as is the
case with those who pierce, tattoo, and dye in the interests of
“individuality.” None of them “rock.” They all have “rocks” in their head.
this word meant “to turn something into calf steak again,” the Czar would
not be faced with the current revealing problem. Thanks, of course, to that
monument of sophisticated television entertainment, “Extreme Makeover,”
“reveal” has been revealed to be a noun---which is quite a revelation. Yes,
“it’s time for the reveal,” squawks hysterical TeeVee Hostmannequin. (For
those of you who feed at troughs, the word should be “revealing.") This is
all part of the peculiar extreme lingo makeover of turning nouns into verbs,
and vice-versa, as in “efforting” and “referencing.” And if this is a
revelation to you, it is suggested that perhaps you should not reveal this
to anyone. W, A, CP.
this word meant “to turn into a can again,” the Czar would not be faced with
the current recognizable problem. While “recanize” can be recognized as
“recognize,” it makes the speaker recognizable as a buffoon, or at minimum,
a graduate of an L.A. City high school. One hears “recanize” spoken
tirelessly by unidentified “witnesses” in TeeVee news, usually along the
lines of “I seen the guy, but I dint recanize him.” To which one might
respond, “was he a can in the first place?” Please endeavor to make words
recognizable. W, CP.
this word meant “to turn into a noun again,” the Czar would not be faced
with the current renowned problem. Along with many other renowned words,
humans are forgetting how to use the word, “renown.” If you are renowned,
you are a person of renown. Like Les Brown and his band of. Yet one hears
many renowned TeeVee Newsmannequins flashing their choppers and saying “we
have the renown (personage of choice) in studio today.” This is hardly
surprising, seeing as TeeVee Newsmannequins are renowned for idiotic grammar
and pronunciation. W.
it used to be a perfectly good descriptor for operatic ladies of particular
achievement. Perhaps as part of the spillover from the “Three Tenors’”
popularizing of operatic arias, “diva” has been adopted by people who do not
know a Figaro from a Fafnir. That is to say, most pop music “critics.” While
one likes to see opera acquire new popularity, this use of “diva” is an
unfortunate by-product. Every prancing, yapping jackass who opens his/her
mouth in front of a microphone and claims to sing is now labeled a “diva.”
Including Elton John, though in his case for less vocal reasons. But. .
.Britney Spears. . .Gwen Stefani. . .divas? Cough. There is no putting this
screeching cat back into the bag, which annoys the Czar, and probably Diva
Zappa, as well. A, P, CP.
CHECK IT OUT/CHECK
it out/check out are descended from “check her out” and “check that out,” phrases
uttered in direct and lascivious reference to the female figure. Websites
are responsible, largely if not entirely, for having forced “check it out”
into broader use, quickly warranting its admission into clichéland. Check
out our website is probably spoken as often in one day in this country
as "finding everything all right?" Oh,
look, people, aren’t you tired of saying this? Hell, stupid question. How
can one ask, in a country that utters the word, “cool,” more times per day
than birds tweet, whether a populace is tired of speaking a particular
phrase? Of course you’re not tired of saying “check it out!” Radio and TeeVee tell you to chant it, and you must obey. Besides, other words and
terms are so. . .well, they require a little bit of mental work to find,
right? Like “see” or “read” or “take a look at” or (gasp) “investigate.” But
“check it out” is ever at the ready, poised and aimed for lingo launching.
It has burrowed into your brains and has a vice-grip on your speech center.
But try this, okay? Every time you start to say, “check it out,” just
substitute “boogieboogie” instead, and see if it makes you want to break the
habit. Let "check it out" check out. T, A, CP.
The Czar wishes you a
lovely lingo day. Or not.
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