I’ve mentioned before my long-standing abhorrence of the use of the non-word ‘Solutions’ in the corporate world and the red mist still descends, every time I see it. Of late however it has been replaced in my odium by an even more irritating word: “Awesome”.
Like most of the world’s major irritations, the use of the word ‘awesome’ as the ‘no-brain-required’ default adjective to describe anything which causes the slightest degree of pleasure whatsoever, started with the ‘Merkins. As t’was ever the case though, it now seems to be creeping into everyday parlance this side of the pond as well. And it needs stamped out forthwith!
My problems with the word “awesome” are two-fold:
Firstly, just the sheer hyperbole of it. “Awe” is a state of being which combines amazement, surprise and sometimes even fear. It implies a situation wherein you are lost for words, unable to speak, standing gape-mouthed in bewilderment. Something that is “awesome” must therefore be something which fills you with this jaw-dropping sense of wonder.
So what marvellous happenings are filing the world at large with such profound emotions these days? Well, almost anything it seems. Just off the top of my head, some of the things I’ve seen described as “awesome” recently are:
- A sandwich
- A font
- The fact that someone would meet one of their friends for lunch
- A plastic screen protector for a phone
- The taste of some chewing gum
…and on it goes, ad nauseam. I can only conclude that a frighteningly large percentage of the world’s population spends so much time indoors, staring at their computer screens that, any time they venture out into the real world, they are rendered into an almost permanent state of wordless incredulity by what goes on around them.
Secondly. There is the sound of the word itself. You know whenever you read something, there’s a voice in your head which serves as some kind of internal narrator? [No. Just me then?]. Well, presumably it’s because I associate ‘the A-word’ with annoying Yankee teenagers so much. But whenever I read that word, my internal narrator switches from whatever voice he [or she] was reading in previously and suddenly takes on the strident tones of some acne-clad back-to-front baseball cap sporting whiny American teenager –and all I hear in my head is “AAAAAAARSE-SUUUUMMM!!!”
I may be reading some thought-provoking piece and, whether or not I agree with the author’s point of view, if they write well and argue a good case, perchance I’ll picture them in my mind like so:
And then, all of a sudden they’ll throw that excruciating prepubescent adjectival hand grenade into the page and instantly they’re transformed in my mind’s eye to this:
And I can no longer take seriously, anything they write.
Stop it please world. It’s not big. It’s not clever. And it’s certainly not Arse-Sum!
Since I initially posted this rantlet, I’ve discovered the joys of custom ‘auto-text-replacement’ Add-Ons for Firefox [I’d thought I might have to attempt writing my own, in a bid to save my sanity]. These allow you to define automatic word substitutions on web pages. The one I chose to try out is called FoxReplace, but there are several available.
Here it is in action:
Great! –now I can make the intarwebs look like what it sounds like in my head. Although, on second thoughts, maybe that will just make it more annoying. Perhaps something a bit more restrained and ‘stiff upper lip’ might be less strident:
Ahhh! Now that’s much better.
[PS: Picture at the top of the page is a portrait of me, drawn by my wee niece, after I mistakenly revealed my hatred of the Arse-Sum! word to the folks]