Tag Archives: awesome

Validation at last

I cracked open the new issue of Vanity Fair, which was fresh from the mailbox. I got as far as page 96, the October 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll, and found a teensy ray of sunshine. Which, by the way, I needed after reading Graydon Carter’s unusually grim editor’s letter.

If you’re a regular VF reader, then you know it shows how Americans weigh in on the poll’s 10 or so issues each month.

This time, 847 people answered questions on topics ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the likelihood that Sarah Palin would make an effective president; whether tanning salon services should be taxed and the extent to which Mel Gibson’s bad behavior would influence moviegoers’ seeing his latest movie.

Only 37 percent of those responding to the poll said they knew who Emily Post was and what she was known for. As sad as I am about the downward spiraling of etiquette awareness, I am not going to dwell on that here.

Why? Because I am so darned encouraged by the answers to another poll question.

The third question of the poll asked participants, “Of the following, which one do you think is the most overused word in the English language today?” The choices were “like,” “awesome,” “tweet,” “organic” and “hope.”

The top choice was [drumroll] “like.” Finally, it’s not just I being critical and whiny. Others’ ears are aching too.

As if I were not pleased enough to see acknowledgement that this nothingness word has run amok, here’s the cherry on top. Among those who said “like” is the most overused word in the English language, more than twice as many respondents were ages 18 to 44 as were 45 or older. Way to go, young people. Awesome. There is hope. Organic hope. Like, I’m so going to tweet it from the rooftops.

I’ll be optimistic that all of us who believe “like” is overused will stand up and take immediate steps to curb it. Let’s begin with not using “I’m like” in lieu of “I said,” shall we? Then maybe we can aim for good stats from the under 18 crowd.

Now please don’t go and burst my bubble by telling me that 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Beauty and Fashion, Movies, Television and Radio, News, Politics, Reading, Technology and Social Media

That’s incredible!

I knew what I was doing. I even paused, but I did it anyway. I used the word “brilliant.” Again.

Yesterday I applied it to Victor Borge, who undoubtedly deserves it. But I plead guilty of overusing “brilliant,” or using it to overstate when I don’t intend to overstate.

I admit, I am easily impressed, so I find a lot of people and ideas brilliant. However, if I keep flinging “brilliant” around, its significance will become diluted.

I think I picked up this habit when I was working internationally. The international crowd flings it around loosely.

I say, “How about we meet in the lobby at seven-thirty?”

Brilliant!” a chum responds.

“Then maybe we can get a coffee?” (Here we say “some” coffee; in Europe, it’s “a” coffee. When in Rome…)


Is it really brilliant to get coffee at 7:30 in the morning? Is there a Nobel Prize for such a breakthrough idea?

This makes me wonder what other adjectives overstate in everyday language.

I’ve heard such statements as “I went to the park today” answered with “That’s awesome!”

How about this one? “That bagel was amazing!” I’ve eaten thousands of bagels in my lifetime, most were tasty, many were delicious, but I can’t recall any as having been amazing, in the literal sense. What could a bagel do to amaze me? Spin around on its own? Stand on end while a caper is shot through its middle from across the deli?

I feel the same way about “incredible,” “countless,” maybe even “absolutely,” though I know  that’s an adverb.

I’m as guilty as anyone of overusing all of these adjectives, but I will try to use them a little more selectively in the future. Maybe you know of a few more and would like to join me in pulling back a bit.

But you have to admit, Victor Borge really is brilliant.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Travel