Tomato, Tomatoe, Obama, Obamo, Usama, Osama

When someone enters law school, they are taught to be precise in their language. They don't tolerate useless or redundant words. I know this because my brother and a few friends have been through the hell that is the first year. For example, it's a cardinal sin to say to such a person, "This is the best cheesecake in the world." That doesn't fly in front of crusty old professors. I mention this because ever since I took the LSAT, I've been dissecting phrases and words like they were little frogs, reluctantly but with morbid curiosity. It's gotten to the point where I sometimes stutter trying to squeeze out the proper words, like drops of toothpaste. Here are a few things that bother me about modern language, using celebrities as an "annoyance grade."

1. "Could care less." People say this when they want to convey the idea that they are above something. The only problem is that if they could care less, then they care about the issue to some degree. Like if you could care less about politics, then you're saying you care about them more than you don't care. This phrase should be "couldn't care less," as in your amount of caring is zero.
Politician equally annoying: Ron Paul. Increasingly visible and so incredibly wrong.

2. "Ironic." Praise Alanis Morissette! This is an obvious but necessary one for my list. This has been a long-standing thorn in my back, because people just use it to mean "unexpected." Not true, it is the exact opposite of what is expected. It's a rare event most exemplified by hipsters in today's culture. Think of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Kids don't drink it because it's good, they drink it because they have money to drink better tasting beer and want to make a sophisticated joke that they are doing something that it the opposite of their rich sensibilities.
Politician score: GW Bush. Obviously.

3. "Or something." I don't know why I didn't notice this before. This is a completely useless phrase, because you say something then completely drown it in other possibilities. For example, you're at a party, and someone says, "What's that girl's name?" And you reply, "I think it's Kelly. Or Carla. Or something." HUH? Why not just say, "I don't know" and let the other person know that you have no clue what the answer is.
Politican score: Hillary Clinton. Shouldn't annoy me, but is doing so right now.

4. "Make love." I just realized how much this irritates me last night. Make love = sex, right? I mean, sex as in candles and French music and 35 positions and 100 camera angles. Well, I have news for everyone. French music may be about love, but it's not a way to "make," or create, it. I couldn't tell you want love is, but I know it's not the Reverse Cowgirl. Here is an interesting synopsis on how this term came to be. Stupid hippies.
Politican: Joseph Biden. Like school in the summer- no class.

5. "How come." This one was brought to my attention by my friend Andrea, and the more times I hear it, the more wrong it seems. It means, simply, "Why?" That's it. I think "how come" is short-hand for "How is it that this has come to." Notice how it was shortened to two words that make no sense, when it could've just been three simple words.
Politician: Mike Huckabee. Well intentioned, but utterly moronic. “If anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do that.” Must've flunked high school biology. IRONIC that he wouldn't believe in survival of the fittest, seeing as he evolved physically himself.

6. "Gay." Ok, I'm admitting that I've used the term to mean showy, but I try to keep it to a minimum. What bothers me about this word is that, as Jeff Goldblum says as Alistair Hennessey in the Life Aquatic, "We're all a little gay." Think about it, where's the line? If someone can tell me the point when you become gay, I'd be impressed. I saw a coat on a model in a J. Crew ad, and suddenly I decided that he looked good in it, so I went and bought one. Gay? Depends on your perspective. I have a female coworker who moonlights as a bartender at a gay bar and is married to a woman. Gay? Well, she's done a dude before, so I guess that makes her straight, or as straight as a buddy of mine who kissed a dude for kicks once. If he's gay then she's straight, know what I mean?
Politician: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian President who said, "We have no gays in Iran."

The point is, words flip flop more than politicians. If I had to elect a word or phrase, I'd vote for "bustin' balls." Perfect, clear, and compact. And who am I voting for? Well, I was leaning towards Obama, even signed up on his website. What I signed up for was a barrage of phone calls. I'm not sure I could handle four years of telemarketing. I'll probably still vote for him. But that maniac from Alaska makes for good theater...


eugene said...

Don't forget "literally"--the misuse of which reminds me of Dennis Kucinich. Due to this explanation:

"Since the 20th century, Literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs."

I think that sums up Kucinich, "Although irritating to some, he neither distorts nor enhances..."

Also one of my law professors uses the idiom "chicken before the egg" when he asks us about an issue we haven't read yet--even though the proper idiom would be cart before the horse. That reminds me of Mike Huckabee--woefully oblivious and reticent of change.

Drew said...

Ah, I considered "literally" but I figured it fell into the bin of lost causes. You're right though, I should've, and Kucinich is dead on. Since he has a computer nerd wife, I think of them as literally and actually, the latter being pronounced in that Paul voice "Axxxxxxxxxxualleee"

As for Mike Huckabee, he was on Wolf Blitzer's show and he got blasted by somebody for voting for tax increases. His opponent said "one liners and a stand up routine won't cut it in Washington" Haha

cookiewonton said...

But what's most importantly...

ugh. To me that's the worst.

And dude, Obama's dancing is gay.

Ha ha.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Fabulous post btw.

Drew said...

i hadn't even seen that obama dancing video! haha you're right, he should leave the dancing to ellen.. thank god it's not as bad as karl rove's dancing...


and thanks for the compliment!

Chris said...

Tommy Lasorda said, according to Billy Bean (his former outfielder) and after watching one of his weaker players hit a homerun: "why is it that if you hit one homerun you're not [necessarily] a homerun hitter; but if you suck one d*** you're a [gay person]?"

Drew said...

hmm "chris," either you're a huge david foster wallace fan or my brother neil, the huge dfw fan... either way, i still need to read that billy bean[e] book, i can't pass on tommy lasorda haha