Definitions For Our Time!

Aside from fire and Velcro, language is the most useful tool humans have ever produced.  Once we went beyond grunting and growling, we were able to communicate complex ideas with a precision that made us the dominant species on this planet.  Unfortunately, these days we’re not playing nice with our words, and they’re losing their effectiveness.  We’ve taken to manipulating the language to try and give words extra meaning that they don’t deserve – and it’s failing miserably.  Here are a few contemporary words (we’ve all heard thousands of times – a day) that are supposed to carry a connotative punch – but they don’t – because we all know what they really mean.

1 — White Privilege – A bunch of privileged white people calling other white people “privileged” as if they did it on purpose just to be assholes.

2 — Twitter – A virtual stick that we beat people with until they agree not to disagree.

3 — Instagram – An historical record of just how culturally shallow we are in the 21st century.

4 – Facebook – Instagram for old people.

5 — Woke – “I live on a higher plane of consciousness than you do.”

6 — Virtue Signaling – This is how you know I live on a higher plane of consciousness than you do.

7 — Hate – Criticism you don’t like. “She said these jeans make me look fat.  She’s always been a hater!”

8 — Support – Criticism you do like.  “She said these jeans made me look curvy.  She’s always been supportive!”

9 — Brave – We’ve been using this word for everything from telling our daughters we’re gay to wearing pink chiffon, yoga pants and a hoodie.  Essentially, we’ve devalued the currency of this term so completely nobody even hears it anymore. (Remember what happened to “hero”?)

10 — Clicktivist – There is no IRL equivalent to this made-up cyberword.  The closest I can find is smug.

11 — Gluten Free – What we’ve been doing to safeguard our health — instead of finding a cure for cancer.

12 — Content Warning – The latest lame-ass attempt to keep the cybermob quiet.  We use it because — in the great tennis match between the eagerly offended and the immediately placated — the offended crowd upped the ante and declared that “trigger warning” itself was actually a trigger.  Go figure!

13 — Conversation – As in “We need to have a conversation about that.”  And it means: I’ll do the talking, and if you don’t shut up and agree, I’ll go Twitter (see Item #2) on your ass.  Not to be confused with “dialogue” which is too yesterday to be taken seriously.

14 — Issues – Problems that can’t possibly be solved.  A handy way to maintain perpetual victim status.

15 – Giving Back – The stuff rich people do when they are a) “woke” (see item #5) b) “virtue signaling (see item #6) and c) have some time on their hands.

16 – Awareness – Wasting time stating the obvious.  Does anybody know anybody who isn’t aware of inequality?

17 — Authentic – Social media sincerity that takes a ton of careful planning.

18 — Shaming – No, I’m not going to go there.

19 – Toxic – I don’t like this, and I’ve decided that nobody else should like it either.

And finally the one that demonstrates just exactly how easily the language can be manipulated:

20 – ‘Splaining – Add any prefix you want (man, age, size, eco, etc.) and you can get pissed off about it.

I Don’t Speak English — Anymore

english-22I don’t speak English anymore.  Apparently, for some years now, I’ve been speaking a dying dialect from the 20th century which hasn’t been English since Brad jumped from Jennifer to Jolie.  (And we all know how that worked out.  Just sayin’!)  Anyway, I’m literally no longer literate in my own language and that upsets me.  I see this as yet another stone in the Yellow Brick Road to hell that’s leading my world to extinction.  Culture is tied to language, and language is the canary in any society’s mineshaft.  Once the canary stops singing, it’s only a matter of time before it’s pushing up daisies.  (BTW, if you caught any of those references, you probably don’t speak 21st century English, either.)

The problem is, as a linguistic dinosaur, I have no idea what half the words people use these days mean.  So, for the most part, I guess.  However, as the world fills up with  bromances, bait-clicks, metrosexuals, and binge watching I find it harder and harder to understand what the hell people are talking about.  Here are a few more of my best guesses.

Cosplay — Derived from “costume” and “play,” this word covers a range of meaning, but I believe it’s actually just a euphemism for someone whose life sucks so badly they spend their time dressing up and pretending to be somebody else.

Mansplaining — This one is very complicated.  On the surface it’s a portmanteau word for a man explaining something.  Dig deeper, and it’s a man explaining something in a very condescending way — usually to a woman.  Dig even deeper, and mansplaining actually means some men have not yet surrendered in the gender wars and they still insist on talking about football and automobiles and other boring, technical stuff — like anybody cares about that crap.

Sideboob — “Sideboob” is one of those words that relies entirely on the speaker, and, oddly enough is not actually about boobs, at all.  It’s about the dress and the woman wearing it.  It illustrates our contemporary attitude towards women.  It suggests that the same dress is both sultry and sleazy and that the woman wearing it is attractive, stylish and sophisticated — but probably a skank.

There’s also:

Askhole — Everybody asks stupid questions but me.
Snowmageddon — Our winter was worse than your winter.
Plutoed — Nobody wants me around, but I’m here anyway — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

But by far my favourite is

Screenager — This is an all-purpose word for the latest generation’s obsession with phones, tabs and computers.  However, what it actually means is contemporary teenagers are all losers — why aren’t they out at the Drive-in theater, drinking illegal beer and trying to get pregnant, like we did at their age?

As we used to say, ’nuff said.