Gael Cliche

It’s linguistic correctness gone mad! It’s Delbo.

Somebody somewhere coins a catchy phrase and next thing you know it’s all over the web. Or its gone viral through YouTube or cable TV. Everybody down the pub is using it and it makes me heave. I’m glad the football season is over so I won’t have to hear ‘park the bus’ (they have a good defence) until August.

Or when some filmic autobore … Hang on, filmic??? This abomination means ‘it’s to do with films’. Where was I? Ah yes. Or when some filmic (spit) autobore says a film ‘pays tribute to bla bla’ all he means is that bla bla has been shamelessly plagiarised as the script-writers wouldn’t know a fresh idea if it crashed their iPad. Post-ironic (grrrr) my arse, they’re just clueless copyists.

Cliches, that’s what we’re on about here. They’ve got to be severely limited in their useage with severe mediaeval penalties falling on persistent abusers. Take the chronically overused suffix -gate. Watergate OK, that’s the origin. But in the last week I’ve endured Blattergate, Clegggate, Obamagate, Pippagate, and the simply inexcusable Giggsgate. (Surely that’s an alleyway in York?)

Due warning. This is going to get bloody folks.

What I’m asking for is your top 3 worst cliches. I want to see flesh creep and bilious eruptions here. You can cherry pick the low-hanging fruit  and move forward to claim the point. Yes, that’s right, it’s a point-tastic bonanza here at Minggate but remember folks, it all goes to charidee.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 8:02 am  Comments (77)  

Kindalike maybe

Emperor Ming issues a fatwa against pointless maddening qualifiers.

Kindalike. Dontcha just hate it? This ludicrously irrelevant neologism is just about ubiquitous and it must be stamped out immediately. Where did it come from? What is its point? Examples, I hear you cry. Well kindalike hang on, here they kindalike come.

  • “I guess I’m kindalike thinking of a Thai massage”.  Are you actually thinking or not? Or is it just a simulacrum of thinking? And why do you have to guess? Is this thought as we know it or not? And why is this pointless debate needed in making a breathtakingly simple order?
  • “And she’s kindalike Ugh and I’m kindalike Wow”. Excuse me, do you speak English?
  • “I guess maybe I’ll have the chicken”. Why the maybe? Is it the chicken or not? Or some quasi-chickenish entity unknown to science? Is that a Yes or a No? Why hedge it?
  • (A personal favourite) “If I kindalike buy a whole kindalike heap of the herbal products, like what will it kindalike cost?”. “Depends what’s in the heap” was my reply. But how can you kindalike buy anything? Either a financial transaction occurs or it doesn’t.  And what, pray, is a kindalike heap? A ziggurat?  A termite mound? Something with some attributes of heapishness but by no means all?

I first noticed these mangled debasements of our language a few years back, usually by our North American friends. Often English teachers (oh irony!). But now its everyone. Brits kynalike do it, Irish koindaloike do it,  Ozzies kannalak do it. Even people using English as a second or third language have been infected – “Zo now I am zinking of maybe ze oil massage unt also ze kindovlike steam room”. Enough.

It seems essential to deliver these spectacularly senseless missives in the tone of a dead cod, or that of an android from early science fiction B movies. With all emotion crushed out of the tone, they have to make wild flapping motions to denote emphasis.  “If I kindalike buy (waving two-hand flap) a whole kindalike heap (helicopter take-off flap) of the herbal products, like what will it kindalike cost ?” (crescendo flap, spilling drinks, shattering glasses and knocking people’s hats off).

"Not kindalike bunga bunga, is kindalike blinga blinga"

I have cast-iron proof of the sheer redundancy of these idiotic interjections. If they had any relevance to sentence construction they would have entered the parallel abomination of textspeak  (& im kndlk ug & shes kndlk wow).  They haven’t. Neither have they entered the dismal lexicon of net abbreviations like the ghastly LOL. They simply have no point or purpose.

In Darwinian terms they must be doomed to extinction. Serving no actual meaning or providing no actual value, they must be replaced with phrases of competitive advantage. But yet they proliferate. Why?

"I guess maybe I kindalike might, but I'm kinda unsure right now".

I am prepared to speculate that there is some rogue virus that assaults the speech centres of the brain. Once lodged, the speaker is completely unaware of its malign influence  while the virus rocks with mirth at the inanities spouted by its host. Why else would Americans describe everything as “awesome”? I remember, years ago, everyone being infected with a mild prototype of the virus whereby we would all say “Nice one Cyril” for no reason whatsoever. Eventually the malady wore off, leaving the continued afflicted looking sheepish.  But now the virus has mutated into such malignant and highly infectious strains that there seems to be no remedy.

I hereby declare jihad against the users of such vile nonsense and urge a culling of all infected speakers in order to purify the language. When you meet them, just kill them quickly and painlessly. There’s not a court in the land will convict and, besides, they’re kindalike asking for it. Maybe.

Something kinda oooh/ Jumping on my toot-toot//

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 10:35 am  Comments (21)  

Speaking in tongues

By our Minguistics correspondent

We all have verbal tics or affectations. The phrase we latch onto and repeat when it’s no longer funny, ‘if you know what I mean’. The gloops and errors that make you what you are (others say).  “At the end of the day” we all do this. Errrr, ummmm, errrr………

After a lengthy spell of recuperation after leaving the academic life (la vie academique) I now begin to notice with horror a widespread practice among those still detained. Their weighty and nuanced pronouncements are so conceptualised and problematised that they speak in italics. When they want to stress, criticise and ridicule what you’re actually saying it comes out in italics.

Recently had a visit from an old mate who’s still on the Inside. All this became rapidly apparent while tackling my specialist subject of the Bleedin’ Obvious.  We were discussing the need to crack down on welfare spongers who live off taxpayers money with no intention of contributing anything beyond grabbing ‘their entitlement’ to do sod all.

Yes he says but “if you intend to look at the issue from a marketised perspective then you might very well be drawn to this conclusion” This comment, dripping contempt for my obvious crudity at simplifying an outrageously problematic issue that simply must be problematised further set my hackles on full beam. The italics popped into the air between us like subtitles.

I remember this kind of paralysis by analysis used to drive me nutso. I’ve always been a hands-on, practical guy but now I’m a businessman the process is complete. If the house catches fire, you put it out. You don’t sit around debating the complexity of the situation.

  • I do, in a very real sense, think that we should consider urgent steps to redress the patent gender imbalance in the fire extinguishing team.
  • I think we’ve barely begun to address the motives and fundamental rights of the fire to consume flammable products. For such is its raison d’être.
  • Are we in any sense being guilty of anthropocentrism in failing to consider the specificity of this particular fire, if fire it is?
  • Should we needlessly ascribe universally negative values to fires when in fact there may be positive consequences or outcomes that we have not yet tabled for debate?
  • There are in fact profound definitional issues to resolve: in what sense does a fire cross a boundary and become a conflagration? How can we be sure that that boundary has been reached, or exceeded? This is the critical point vis-a-vis our own safety, insofar and inasmuch as excessive heat may cause some measure of discomfort.

May they roast, and assess the implications. Fraught, simply fraught with significance.

I say all this to expunge and exorcise the remaining shreds of ‘my former life’, but also to sound a warning. Once you meet someone who speaks in italics, just run. You can’t win or deal with these sorts. They’ll tie you in knots for a zero result. There’s one on this forum who’s a master, but the comments won’t allow italics so the full horror is lost. There’s maybe two. You know who they are. Oh yes.

You’re as tight as a hunters trap/ Hidden well, what are you concealing?/ Poker face, carved in stone/ Amongst friends but all alone/ Why do you hide?//

Published in: on July 31, 2010 at 2:44 pm  Comments (27)