Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another word I never want to hear again


I mean, come on. How many times can you use the same damn word to flatter yourself before somebody revokes your license? It's not only self-aggrandizing, it's monotonously, vacuously, and conspicuously self-aggrandizing:

  • It is monotonous because they repeat it way too often. (Obviously.)
  • It is vacuous because repeating the word makes a claim as a substitute for marshalling evidence for that claim.
  • It is conspicuous because normal human beings simply do not use this word — certainly not in everyday speech, of course, but not even in erudite discourse. When was the last time you read the word "maverick", not in reference to John McCain, in a novel, an essay, a newspaper article, or even a nonfiction monograph or scholarly paper or blog post or fortune cookie or anything at all? In fact, the only other occurrence of this word that I've ever read, heard, or watched is in an 80's gay romantic comedy starring Tom Cruise.

It's become like a cartoon character's catchphrase. "Doh!" "Hulk Smash!" "Good grief!" "We're mavericks!" Somebody buy these people a thesaurus. For the sake of my sanity, if nothing else.

p.s. Gwen Ifill is (still) terrible. Still spends half her questions recycling D.C. press memes. Still incapable of asking a probing factual followup to a pile of talking points.

(Previously: other words I could do without.)