Thursday, April 3, 2014

Words and Phrases I Want Kicked Out of the English Language

The suffix -aholic used to signify any sort of addiction

It started with the term "alcoholic" meaning someone suffering from alcohol addiction.  The word alcohol had the suffix "ic" added to it, and so we have the simple term alcoholic.  It makes sense, doesn't it?

The next thing we know we have phrases like "workaholic" for someone who enjoys or feels compelled to work too hard, or "chocoholic" for someone who really loves chocolate obsessively. 

The first issue I have with these words is that they make no grammatical sense. We drink alcohol.  We don't eat chocohol or go to workohol.  Why are we then chocoholics? 

The next issue I have is that it makes light of addiction.  Alcoholism is a very serious condition.  To incorporate the terminology for alcoholism into addictions that are far less serious and life threatening seems rather tasteless to me.  It makes light of something that is dangerous and deadly.  If your only addiction is chocolate, you're doing just fine in this life.  Stop equating it with alcoholism.

The suffix -gate attached to political scandals

Once upon a time a major political scandal that brought a corrupt administration to a screeching halt was based in an office complex called Watergate.  The scandal became known simply as Watergate. 

Now suddenly every political scandal, large or small, is now dubbed a "Gate" by every bad journalist and political pundit.  Bridgegate, Benghazigate, Climategate, Monicagate.  It's ridiculous.  None of the people or places attached to these scandals, if they can be considered scandals at all, had the suffix "gate" in them anywhere.  Somehow they have to be compared to Watergate by calling them "gates".

I sometimes wonder if young people who haven't been well-schooled in 20th century history hear the word "Watergate" and thing that it is some kind of scandal that has to do with water.

Watergate was Watergate.  How about letting history be history and letting issues in the news not have to be tied to or compared to Watergate?  Let's say things like "issue", "scandal", "controversy".  Gain a better vocabulary.  Gate is just a cheap shot and shows a lack of thought and insightfulness on behalf of the journalist of pundit using it.

"Core" as it relates to fitness

Actually, I already wrote about this one.  It's a meaningless fitness buzzword.  All exercise should be integrative and all fitness activities require the use of abdominal muscles for trunk stabilization.  Calling it a core doesn't give it magic properties.

Drama (When not referring to an entertainment genre)

Person #1: You hurt me and I'm upset.

Person #2: Oh cut the drama!

Why is it any time there is any type of tension between people, any time someone is hurt or angry, we now call it "drama".  What is drama?  In general terms it's theater entertainment that's not comedy.  It is meant to imply there is a large amount of high emotion and tense situations. 

Now it seems any time someone expresses any displeasure, it's called "drama".  You can't disagree with another person without it becoming drama.  You can't have your feelings hurt without being accused of causing drama.

The term drama often implies overacting or an overdeveloped sense of importance for trivial matters as we see on television, on stage, and in movies.  My issue with this is that we all have a right to our own feelings.  Human emotions are not movies.  When you call it drama, you are saying on some base level that the other person's feelings are somehow not legitimate and that you are just acting them out.  I worry that it will come to a point where no one will feel comfortable expressing his or her feelings anymore for fear of looking too dramatic.  Look, even if someone does seem very dramatic to you and upset over things you feel are trivial, that doesn't make that person's feelings any less real to him or her.  Have a little empathy!

ADDENDUM

I knew I would come up with another phrase I can't stand that needed to be part of this post.

Hater

I am a hater for the term "hater".   We all know that hate is a strong word.  It's probably rather overused.  When we think of true hate we think of racism and xenophobia and other types of bigotry. We probably shouldn't apply it sports teams or the neighbor's cat, but we do.  Americans like hyperbole (which isn't necessarily "drama") and we overuse the word often.  I can deal with that.

What I can't deal with is that any time someone makes any sort of criticism about another person or entity, they are now labeled a "hater".

If I criticize anything you like that I don't, whether it's a politician, TV show or personality, religious belief, blog post, or anything else that can be thoughtfully critiqued, I'm labelled a "hater".  No matter how well-reasoned or rational that critique may be, if I put any passion into it, I'm a hater.  

To me, calling someone a hater is just an easy way out.  You can't come up with a decent counterpoint to what someone else, so you try to discredit that person by calling him or her a hater.  If you can't discredit the message, discredit the messenger.  If you can't deal with someone having a differing opinion from you, accuse him or her of just being negative.