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 daughter 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.