March 10, 2011

"Actually kind of" retarded

Soaring violence levels lead people to use more potent language.* Greater insulation from harm makes them more mealymouthed, as their minds turn from the tragic to the trivial.

One consequence of not being able to say what you mean, either because you don't trust others or because you're afraid of them glaring at you for speaking openly, is that you must smother your words with qualifiers. "I was just thinking, if you could maybe just possibly..." -- What? Spit it out, man!

We saw the first clear signal in 1995 when Deep Blue Something scored big with "Breakfast At Tiffany's." They took a stab at writing an energetic rock song, but the chorus only turns up the lame lines "And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it."

Since then things have only gotten worse, so that you frequently hear people orgasming about how bla-bla-bla is "kind of awesome," or that yadda-yadda is "kind of a big deal." The stupidest sounding is the attempt to re-intensify the phrase with the word "actually," as in "Dude, have you guys tried that free-range toiletpaper from Whole Foods? It's actually, kind of amazing."

I shudder to think what extra layers of namby-pambyness people will have wrapped around their exclamations in five or ten years, but it will undoubtedly be something more disgusting than we can now imagine.

* E.g., the 14th C., ca. 1580 to 1630, 1780 to 1830, 1900 to 1935, and 1960 to 1990.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard "kind of awesome". My impression of "kind of a big deal" is that it's supposed to be ironic.


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