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(May 8, 2007)

         The Lingo Czar is freshly returned from the printer, supervising the final touches on his forthcoming tome, “BAD WORDS,” soon to be available in The Rip Post bookstore. This, of course, will be a comprehensive compendium of rigidly conformist slang, pin-headed outbursts, "cool" expressions, abominable cliches, infantile drivel, smug rejoinders, mandatory peer-enforced buzzwords and idiotspeak that Americans are spewing from their 500 word vocabularies, as their knuckles drag ever closer to the earth.
          And here is the latest installment.
          Citizens are hereby advised to refrain from the following worn-out phrases, buffoonish slang, buzzwords and airy mispronunciations infecting and muddling lingo in this, the alleged 21st century. They are rated: T (trite), A (asinine), P (pretentious), W (whoops), and CP (criminally prosecutable, or damn well should be.)

GIVE MYSELF/YOURSELF PERMISSION---Oh, how precious you are! Oh, how perfumed is your psyche! Oh, how dainty are your sensibilities! Oh, how complex and convoluted are your convolutions! You can’t just do something, God forbid. You can’t just make a decision, or act on impulse. You must weigh, and consider, and hmmmmm, and scratch your chin, and furrow your brow, and give yourself permission. This odiferous expression rises from the especially stinky vocabulary known as psychobabble. It is a hoary staple of New Agey shrink-ese. People who are so imprisoned by various fashionable permutations of guilt or other trendy mental constipations are advised by shrinks/shrink books (“self help”) to just give themselves permission to (usually) indulge some pleasure. I gave myself permission to buy a $75,000 Masserati. I gave myself permission to eat a pound of dark chocolate (after all, it has all those antioxidants!) I gave myself permission to get a nice herbal colon cleanse at my local Zen retreat boutique. What The Czar wants to know is, if you’re giving yourself permission, which one of you is in charge? Which one is calling the shots, steering the wheel, dealing the cards? The good you? The evil you? The slovenly you? The dunderheaded you? The Czar gives you permission to stop giving yourself permission. Give yourself some persimmons instead. The fuyus will be in season soon enough. A, CP.

BABY BUMP---The brunt of the defense mechanism of women, that is, their primary buffer against the brutish, smelly, festering, wacky world is. . .cute. Or make that Cute. Built into their psyches, if not their psychoses, is a deep need to render anythingandeverything as Cute. Or make that Kewwwwwwwwwwt. Especially, mostly, maybe entirely. . .things that are definitely not kewwwwt. Starting with the excretions, northerly and southerly, particularly of babies. Yes, women should be congratulated, really, for taking the most vile emissions of fledgling humans and trying to think of them as endearing, aesthetically pleasing, even possibly a touch lyrical. It’s probably in DNA, long ago developed in order to simply cope with the constant sight and ambience of baby vomit and defecation. And now, from the makers of  “poop,” “spit-up,” comes new. . . “baby bump!” Well, that’s not quite in the same class, of course---pregnancy is hardly as unsightly as such expulsory items. Of course, vanity, thy name is woman (unless it happens to be Oprah or Barbara Walters, which are far worse.) And thus have women rendered as kewwwt something that is neither ugly nor pretty, something that just is. This alliterative lingo cutesy-ism is, come to think of it, more in the realm of slang body euphemisms. You know, where a can the size of Wyoming is suddenly termed a “tushie,” or breasts casually referred to as “boobs” (which sounds like a pair of infections.) Well, “baby bump” wouldn’t be quite so damn irksome were it not for every TeeVee Mannequin on “Entertainment Tonight” and such programs using it every night in describing the latest “icon’s” impregnation display, generally in close proximity to the odious “preggers.” A.

PREGGERS----The Czar doesn’t really mind light-hearted, jaunty patois, but there is just something in the sound of this word that strikes him as wrong, on a visceral level. “Pregnant” is not a pretty word, to begin with, and rendering it a bit more appealing is a perfectly laudable undertaking. But “preggers” sounds kind of like a computer game, or really, more like one of those cheezo rigged games at a carnival or amusement pier, maybe with laughing clowns that explode when you throw a water balloon at them. But then, that’s not a bad metaphor for the process of becoming pregnant. I guess “preggers” sort of has a “boinggg!” implication in its sound, as if you hit a bullseye and suddenly, bingo---you’re preggers. Of course, that is almost a literal representation of the means of attaining pregnancy. Hard to say why this is so bothersome. It just sounds like a bad batch of eggs or something. A breakfast cereal with artificially colored and sweetened burned pieces of oats in the shape of pregnant women. There really are no words for this condition that sound pleasant, graceful---certainly not “with child” or the dreaded banal male utterance, “one in the oven.” The French, however, have a downright lovely way of saying it, “enceinte,” but then most everything sounds pretty good in French. Even “Merde.” A.

AHA! MOMENT---Gee. Er. . .The Czar hates to resort to outright derision, but people, this is so dopey, so rube, so. . .TeeVee. And that’s where you find it, mostly, among all the Punditmannequins, Newsmannequins, Interviewmannequins, Actormannequins, saying “I had my ‘aha moment’ when. . .” Maybe---maybe---this wouldn’t have been so hair-retractingly disgusting had it only been said a couple of times, but it has now absolutely replaced “realization/realized” in discourse. You turn on CNN, and you find yourself tensing, flexing your toes in anticipation. . .you know some jackass is going to say “aha moment.” It’s just a matter of time. It strikes The Czar that this came about as a result of loss of general vocabulariousness and syntaxilaxity. In other words, people, you are losing the ability not only to think, if you ever had much, but to flap gums. One can just picture gum-chewing, cigarette-sucking Beverly Hills PR gal Patsy Rheinhold (a fake name---if she exists, please advise and we’ll fake another) driving down Wilshire in her fire engine red Mustang convertible, speaking faster than the speed of lightweight into her cell phone: “I don’t know, I was getting a manicure, and this Korean girl dug too deep in my big toe, and I had this, like, aha moment, and I knew then that I had to change Pilates instructors. . .” One can easily see it then being slipped into her next press kit, and from there adopted by TeeVee boneheads. Now this is just theoretical, mind you. But it would be nice to be able to track down the first person who spoke “aha moment”---I’ll just bet it might have been Oprah---and express proper gratitude for this puerile addition to declining English. T, A.

NUCLEAR OPTION---Need anything really be said about this? Yes? Okay, then, here’s what you do. Take a trip to Hiroshima or Nagasaki, hang out in a café where the locals speak a bit of English, get to know them well enough to have some good conversation, then drop “nuclear option” into a sentence or two. Watch the fun begin! Watch the eyebrows knit, the eyes widen, the exchanges of looks. What did that person just say?? You think “nuclear option” is cute, do you, oh Punditmannequin and Congressmannequin? Oh Fox News Fascistmannequin? Think it’s zippy to say, “Hillary is reportedly planning the nuclear option for the Democratic convention?” I mean, really, folks, how dare you turn the most frightening and devastating weapon yet devised (oh, they’ll top it, you wait and see) into a flip little turn of phrase, as if it’s a goddamn football play. Do you not have an aha moment---I mean, do you not realize---that this at least subconsciously renders the horror of nuclear weapons less bone-fryingly frightening? That it even subtly furthers the process of making the nuclear option more acceptable, psychologically? Isn’t it bad enough that millions of cretins in this country fill blogs with talk of “nuking” anything that does not tickle their pleasure receptors? Isn’t it bad enough that fiendish Hillary recently spoke of “annihilating” Iran, including, of course, all the nice people there who just want to get on with their lives, and have no strong political feelings about much of anything? Isn’t it bad enough that Bin-Laden and countless terrorist types would love nothing better than to exercise the “nuclear option” against The Rip Post and other innocents? But forget my rant here, just do as I said. Drop it into conversation in Hiroshima, or if you can’t afford the trip, find a Japanese nuke survivor in the U.S.---they’re still around---and try the expression out on him or her. The Czar is no patsy for sensitivity training, or political correctness, but this is about as insensitive as insensitive gets. There should be no nuclear option, in language or reality. T, A, P, CP.

THE FED---Sounds like some kind of race of creatures that Capt. Kirk would have to contend with. You can hear Bones: “This Fed is dead, Jim.” This is another unfortunate case of an abbreviation that has come to sound silly. Newsmannequins are constantly telling one and all what “The Fed” is doing. As in Federal Reserve, of course. Or even, more loosely, federal government (okay, The Federal Reserve is part private, part government, but in our Corporatocracy, who can tell the difference?) The Czar’s theory is that the newsmannequins like to say it because it makes them feel more newsy to use parlance and shorthand---much as they picked up “shooter” from police jargon to replace  “assailant” and “murderer.” The Fed. I don’t know, sounds like Dr. Seuss or something. “The Fed went down/ to a little town/ and ate and ate and ate/ And when he was done/ He urped and said “Yum”/ Now The Fed’s had a well-fed fate!” You know, it’s really just a case of The Czar being sick of hearing something. Why, oh why why why, can’t some newsmannequin somewhere say “Federal Reserve,” just once in a while. Not that the government deserves any particular dignity anymore, but then, if you regard a person or institution with dignity, perhaps it will begin to behave with a touch of same. Yes, you know the final line: The Czar is Fed up. T, A, CP.

DREAM---The Czar has enormous pity for kids growing up today, incessantly told to “follow your dream” by every “mentor,” teacher, gold-chained-God-thanking-no-talent Grammy-winning Pop Starmannequin, etc. What sorts of “dreams” are possible, one wonders, with education affordable only to the rich, cities being turned into playgrounds for the super-affluent, military recruiters hanging around high schools like vultures looking to turn young people into Iraq carrion? With pop culture ennobling “gangsta” culture, turning ignorant beasts into heavily rewarded celebrities? With dreadful, vapid, demographically designed music-product mesmerizing from early sentience? Are kids dreaming of becoming doctors? Scientists? Composers? Perhaps. But it is more likely they are dreaming of becoming Snoop Dogg, and that’s just a nightmare. “Follow your dream” is probably the worst advice one could possibly give a kid these days, it suddenly occurs. Focus on one thing and work hard, extremely hard, seems much better. T, P, CP.

CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY---Let’s retire this, fast, once and for all, eh? It became a cliché approximately 30 years ago. What’s more, let’s not celebrate our diversity. Let’s ignore our diversity. Let’s celebrate our similarity. Let’s celebrate our unity. All this “diversity celebration” has only resulted, ultimately, in separatism, resentment, even enmity. Welcome to the Factionalized States of America. You know, The Czar remembers a thing back in the ‘70’s called The L.A. Street Scene. Mayor Bradley arranged to have downtown more or less closed off for a big weekend wang-dang-doodle once a year. There were stages set up all over the place, and every kind of music from the L.A. Phil to mariachi and a cappella to taiko and tabla. Smoke from a crazy-quilt of ethnic cuisines rose into the air and became a multi-cultural olfactory L.A. mélange. A symbolic manifestation of togetherness. Countless thousands of people poured into downtown from all sectors of L.A.., and this town really felt like a town. It was a wondrous, marvelous event---until, of course, gangs attended and began rumbling and shooting, then it was cancelled. Now there is some Latino thing every year called Spring Street L.A. or something, which is very nice for latinos who are “celebrating our diversity.” Doesn’t celebrate the rest of us, though, does it? This notion is an outgrowth of ‘60’s civil rights movements that ultimately were perverted into crazed egalitarianism. Okay, we all now know how diverse we are, so let’s get back to trying to be one citizenry. A, P, CP.

I'M DOWN WITH THAT---Where are you? You’re down? Down where? Down in the valley, the valley so low? Down with what? You want to play poker? Yeah, I’m down with that. You want to teach cats to sing and dance? Yeah, I’m down with that. Hell, between "I'm down with that" and "whuzzup?" you've got most of your directional conversational needs met. Gangsta-hipster-hiphopster jive like this is typically appropriated by mainstream lingo blabberers, and quickly loses all cache. This one had lost any degree of slang credential almost before it was new. Once upon a time, you know, slang was largely the pursuit of high school kids. Of course, since those days, high school mentality and behavior has been well extended into the 30’s and 40’s, arguably beyond, so it is not unusual to have older folk using trendy phrases, as well. How pathetic it is that guttural street lingo has become the coolspeak of the middle class. Down with that. T, A, P, CP.

JOURNEY/JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY---Open psychobabble chute number 3! Let that bull loose! Look at him bucking out there, and what’s that he’s leaving on the ground? Why, it’s “journey!” And there’s “journey of self-discovery!” How many more times must we listen to commercials, or read Hallmark cards, or have sweet, well-intentioned friends send us e-mails---all saying “life is a journey?” Answer: more than a handful! It struck The Czar that there is an analogy between traveling and experiencing life, back when he was still a little lingo prince. The insides of this cliché rotted and fell out eons ago, yet people still toss the withered carcass around all the time. You know what life is? It’s really more of one big event. Like a fish-fry. When you think of it as a journey, though, you wind up thinking of the destination, and that is not any place you want to rush off to, now, is it? Now let's turn to “journey of self-discovery.” Is there any term that more says “narcissism” than this one? You know, The Czar really fervently wishes that people would stop discovering themselves and start discovering other people, and animals, and trees, and flowers, and manatees, and ice bergs, and. . .When you start discovering things outside of yourself, you eventually wind up knowing more about yourself than you would have by a “journey of self-discovery.” T, A, P, CP.

POST-PARTISAN---This is one of the latest infections by the post-virus, other recent notables being “post-modern” and “post-racial.” What a hilarious little device, for all its transparent pretense. Want to be a player? Be sure and use “post,” then. Nobody can realistically participate in Callousness: The Game of Sociopathic Self-Promotion (widely played in media and politics) without saying “post”-this or that. Post-partisan is usually used in reference to Washington, as if the “era of partisanship” has ended. Yes, that’s right. And the era of self interest has also ended. Why, we must be entering the era of altruism! Bunny rabbits and butterflies and jolly candy and soundtrack entirely by The Archies! Gad. You can no sooner stop being “partisan” than you can keep roast turkey from Kirstie Alley. People have attitudes, they have beliefs, they have positions on issues. There is irresponsible, unreasoned partisanship, which is really just fascism, and there is simply acting according to your beliefs. We are no more in a “post-partisan” environment than we are dancing on rose petals. We are, in fact, at the moment, in a Rip Post-partisan environment. A, P, CP.

Have a post-Lingo Day.

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