On Language

Uncategorized

Bad language to be precise. No, not that bad language, but instead some overused phrases:

Thrown under the bus — and its derivatives. Typically used to state someone is being blamed for some sort of problem. The blame or fault may not be appropriately (or reasonably) placed on that person and may, in fact, be because of someone entirely different. It’s the modern blame game.

Green — I’m not talking about the actual color here as I rather like a few shades of green. I’m talking about the environmental concept. It’s not that I think the environment is not important; it is. But this phrase was picked up by marketing types to grab the attention of hoi polloi. Sadly, it worked; now they use it for everything. My 13 year old Chevy Blazer isn’t green (though I will argue that someday). Old houses are green. Datacenters aren’t green. Bicycles are green. Jet planes aren’t.

Carbon — what’s wrong with the element carbon, you ask? Nothing. It’s just an element — one, I might add, which is absolutely essential to life as we know it. However the word has been used to describe every phrase, concept, and compound containing carbon. Without going to Wikipedia or Google to look up meanings and definitions, quickly figure out how much carbon you, as a human, create per day, year, and over an average lifetime. Okay, now what kind of carbon? What are benefits and risks of each of those carbon-based compounds to the human environment?

x is the new y — Black is the new green, cool is the new warm, fake is the new real, MySpace is the new AOL, Facebook is the new Myspace. The “… is the new…” phrase just wears on you and seemingly ends up in logical impossibilities a bit too often. Don’t think so? Someone actually put together a chart illustrating the variations of the phrase back in 2005. Things have only gone downhill since then.