Friday, November 13, 2009

Terms That Should Be Taken Out and Shot

I'd like to see the following terms disappear. And the sooner, the better:

"Vigilant" - as in "be vigilant" about any boogeyman the government wants to use to manipulate us or distract us from the things that really deserve attention. If we were truly "vigilant" about everything we're told to be "vigilant" about, we'd be emotionally exhausted. Maintaining a vigil means, "keeping awake during the time usually given to sleep." The public is supposed to be so disturbed and upset by whatever the threat du jour is that it exhausts itself watching for real or imagined threats.

"Consumers" - as a designation for shoppers. It depersonalizes people, consigning them to a single flock whose behavior is lemminglike enough to predict and control.

"Make no mistake" - as demeaning and preachy a phrase as ever came down the pike. It says: "We know what you're thinking and it's wrong. You should think this way." The assumption is insulting to any discriminating and informed person.

"The Homeland" - What's wrong with "America?" The term "homeland" reeks of xenophobia and conjures up images of Nazi Germany.

"The War in Iraq" or "The War in Afghanistan" - They aren't conventional wars. They are, at best, preemptive strikes, conflicts or occupations. Call them what they are.

"The War on Terror", "The War on Drugs", etc. etc. - Wake up, congressmen and women. You can't declare war on a noun. Or at least you can't declare war on a noun and hope to win such a war. The perpetual inclination to define any sort of task in terms of warfare or sports isn't a positive or a sensible thing.

"Is thought to work . . ." - as in those pharma commercials. That says to me, it's not proven. What's more, it suggests that they really don't know if it can help you. Shame. I also loathe the use of the word, "as" in these commercials. "If this terrible side effect happens, let your doctor know, as it is . . ." What in the world is wrong with the word, "because?" Why in the world - other than money - does our government allow pharmaceutical companies to flog drugs on television? They didn't use to. It's second-guessing medical professionals - your doctor. My guess? Your doctor hates it when patients come in *asking* for a particular drug that may not even be appropriate. This advertising also permits drug companies to push drugs as a primary solution, giving little or no lip service to diet and exercise . . . not allowing older patients to reconcile themselves to the fact that some things decline with age and trying to hang on to them could actually endanger one's health.

"ED" - Call it what it is. You can't get it up. Or you're impotent. Do we have "respiratory dysfunction" if we have a cold? Or "perception dysfunction" if we don't get a joke? Or perhaps "financial dysfunction" if we bounce a check. Sheesh.

"Pandemic" - wait until distribution of a disease actually qualifies it for this term.

The use of "quote-unquote" without putting anything BETWEEN the quotes so people know WHAT you're referring to.


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