Sunday, February 18, 2007

10 Words and Phrases For Bloggers to Avoid

Although we're well into 2007, here's a list of the top ten words and phrases I'd love to see fade from view both in the blogosphere and MSM in general:

1. Britney Spears. God but I am tired of Britney Spears. Since the beginning of the year I have heard more about Britney Spears and have seen more of Britney Spears (literally) than I ever, ever wanted. She has gone from pop princess to second rate celebrity to caricature. This calls to mind one other youngster who followed that path from stardom to weirdom and beyond. I guess there is an upside: at least Britney isn't fondling little boys. Yet. But she is hanging out with Paris. Anyway, enough said.

2. "Enough said." And it's slangier variant, "'nuff said." To be sure, anytime someone writes "enough said" you can be fairly certain that they've already said too much.

3. "To be sure." Intellectually gifted individuals can pull off using the phrase "to be sure" with relative success. George Will, for example, who earned a graduate degree at Princeton, can get away with it from time to time. Too often, though, using the phrase "to be sure" makes a writer sound like someone who really wants to be an intellectual, but very clearly isn't. In the way that if you have to ask how much something costs you probably can't afford it, if you have to ask yourself whether you should be using the phrase "to be sure," you probably shouldn't.

4. "Insurgents." I know there's probably nothing better to call the insurgents besides insurgents. Maybe irhabists? Secess? Anarchists? Extremists? I dunno. I just wish I didn't have to hear about them so often. 'Nuff said.

5. "War on Drugs." This term was coined in 1976 1971 (thanks, 6pence) by then- President Richard Nixon. OK. If you've been at war for 31 years and you haven't won yet, it's time to stop calling it a war. Or at least admit you've lost. (Maybe we should start calling it an insurgency instead.) If jackboot interdiction methods and ridiculously strict sentencing practices haven't worked (because, if the police are to be believed, the problem is worse now than ever), then maybe we should try something different for a while.

6. Nudity. Michelle Manhart goes nude in Playboy. Daniel Radcliffe goes nude in the theater. Darryl Delacruz goes jogging in the nude in a park near San Jose, CA. Pam Anderson and Sadie Frost go nude for PETA. None of this is really newsworthy. It's an odd comment on the fragile state of our collective sensibilities that a person can make national news just by taking their clothes off. I am hoping for the day when naked protesters are regarded as a bit touched perhaps, but not "shocking" in the least, and that their naked state might be mentioned in passing but isn't the news topic in and of itself.

7. Anything. Written. Like. This. This has got to be one of the most annoying practices ever. Stop. The. Madness.

8. Britney Spears. Yes, again. Hopefully the message gets through.

9. Gratuitous foreign words. I occasionally amuse myself by reading Anna Quindlen's editorials until I get to the gratuitous foreign expression. Usually it is within the first 80 words or so. Maybe this practice is supposed to demonstrate worldliness, or some sense of cosmopolitanism. Maybe its supposed to show that the author is very smart. I suppose, in one way, if both you and the audience know a foreign language very well and the foreign word expresses the desired sentiment or meaning far better than any English word you can think of then it would make sense to use it. Under any other circumstances, though, the practice is simply pretentious.

10. "Peace process." There is either peace, or there is not. Calling it the "peace process" is a way of getting everyone to feel good about peace when, clearly, it's still a disaster in progress. I'm all for peace. Anything short of peace is just negotiations.

This item linked at Outside the Beltway.

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Anonymous 6pence said...

I know this IS the Unreliable Intelligence blog, but Richard Nixon was not President in 1976! According to Wikipedia (the REAL source of Unreliable Intelligence) the term was coined by Nixon in 1971.

To be sure, I confirmed this with Britney Spears. She knows it to be true, mon ami, because she heard it directly from the insurgents in the WAR ON DRUGS. We. Did. Not. Discuss. her recent nudity or her bad haircut. Now that she is back in rehab, the peace process with her inner demons has begun.

Enough said?

10:08 AM  
Blogger Gollum said...

Error corrected. Unreliable indeed. Caveat lector, as I always say.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous 6pence said...


10:45 AM  

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