Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fear of a Pattern Recognition

This might be just another Facebook25 waiting to happen, but I know everyone's got their phraseological pet peeves. They're called pet peeves because they're inconsequential, but I guarantee once you recognize it you won't be able to unnotice it ever again.

"Psycho Demo"
Though not technically overused, the only two people who've truncated "psychological demography" in my world were both club-ready girls selling ad space in their respective publications. This is a classic example of marketing jargon made worse by its communicator.
Usage: Our psycho demo totally (snap) fits the profile of your product. (Ad rep licks teeth and smiles.)

My British friend tells me "chillax" is the new power tie. Middle-aged, medium-built men in middle management overuse the phrase whenever she asks for anything in urgency. I guess it's supposed to be something in between chilling and relaxing, but it sounds like a spicy diuretic if you ask me.
Usage: Chillax! (Resets Bose noise-cancelling headphones, closes eyes and listens to new U2 album.)

A Los Angeleno in finance tells me his female boss can't agree enough. She doesn't trust her own vocabulary so accentuates her S sounds. Sounds like the diametric opposite of Montgomery Burns' "egggsellent" in The Simpsons and strikes me as well-intentioned but inadvertently annoying. The S sound can definitely be super-grating when hissed for too long. I've heard likewise for the "oi" dipthong, e.g. "moist" and "qoinum"

Accusatory Assent
Let me be the first to admit guilt in "accusatory assent," but I concede its douche factor and have conscientiously cut back. I have heard theories on the origins of phrases like "ya think?" and "yeah it is!" but many place it in Boston circa 1990. If you can't stand to agree with someone, just shut up. You're either in or you're out. An accusatory agreement is like a snarky blogger (or Bostonian) -- categorically unpopular. (Trust me, I know.)
Usage: Ooooh, so the extradiegesis in Doctor Zhivago coincides with Eisenstein's synechdocal mirroring of The Lacanian Other huh? YA THINK?

Finger Quotes
I think "finger quoting" or what I like to call "skybanging" is a "necessary" "evil." I just have one question. How do you think an 18th century English-speaker would respond to skybanging? Like, what if in the HBO mini-series John Adams, Paul Giamatti played the title role more like his real self (rolling his eyes, uber-sarcastic, generally displeased with everything) and belittled Benjamin Franklin with finger quotes? How fast would Franklin "discover electricity" on Giamatti's balls?
Usage: You ask me to refute "secession" but "secession" is the only "choice" the Torys hav...Ben, Ben what are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU "DOING"?!!"!""!"

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