I think I’d actually like to be on the committee that pronounces: ‘the following words will hereby be stricken from usage.’ OH! If only it could be that easy. No more inanities spouted. No more acronyms. A cliché-free environment! Ah…. Yet, consider the consequences of banned words. If such a committee were given the power to prohibit our usage (does anyone remember 1984?), where might free speech run for safe haven?
Even with such high stakes (worth the ‘double down,’ right?), I am relieved to see I’m not the only one worn out by the endless ‘passion’ everyone exudes these days. Really, can Flamin’ Hot Cheetos really be worth an ‘overmastering feeling or conviction’? I think not. I do seem to recall, though, that the snack in question itself has been recently subjected to ban, proving that some folks actually refuse to ‘kick the can down the road’ in hopes that some other group will clean up the messes we make.
I confess, I’d like to find myself ‘trending’ somewhere, somehow. I’d like to be relevant — it’s on my ‘bucket list.’ I mean, YOLO…
So, ‘with all due respect’ (which should make the list), I’m ‘just sayin’ (ditto) that as conversationalists, broadcasters, politicians, bloggers and, please God!, critical thinkers, we would do well to avoid the trite,the worn out, the overused, the hackneyed phrases of our time. Fresh, insightful, engaged, informed, purposed language works. Every time. Ironically enough, the most purposeful language changes minds and hearts, and finds itself subject to ban. Socrates, Martin Luther, John Milton, Mark Twain — a few names to remind us how significant words are, and of the fight to keep them free. I can get behind the cause to rid our daily usage of the banal. For humor’s sake, the list performs its office. But banishment? “Ignorance is strength.” “Slavery is Freedom.”
We might do well to remember what speech reduction leads to. Long live freedom of speech. Let’s commit to using it wisely. After all, we do only live once.