There are five phrases that have become hot buzzwords in the past year or so, and they absolutely must be wiped out.
These are words and phrases that have snuck into the vernacular, and they should all be repelled by anyone who loves the English language. Nevermind what they say about English being a living thing that grows and changes. Or that an ill-used word or phrase doesn't mean society is declining. They're wrong.
These 5 words are absolutely a threat to society, and the only course of action is to promise to never use them again.
Once upon a time — for centuries, really — curate was used only in the rarified world of art galleries and museums, where it belonged.
Then a bad thing happened. People who market restaurants and department stores and real estate discovered curate and started using it to pass off their pedestrian output as "art."
In Dallas, it first surfaced in 2013, when developer Mark Masinter said he was "trying to curate Henderson Avenue." How do you curate a $&%! street?
Since then, CultureMap has seen 603 people trying to curate things across an absurd range of topics: Clothes being curated at JC Penney. Website Axios laughably curating content. "Talent" being curated for a society event.
Curate is particularly popular these days among restaurants (well, really, restaurant PR people). Every press release about a new restaurant promises a "curated" menu. No. Chefs are creative, but food is fricking food.
The problem here is not the trendy, twee sandwiches known as "katsu sandos." Katsu sandos being a sandwich from Japan made with slices of white bread and sold in child-like little packages. (Sando is an abbreviation of "sandoitchi," which means sandwich.)
The problem is that people are starting to call regular sandwiches "sandos." Which is idiotic. Sando has two syllables, just like sandwich. It's not like you're saving any time. Saying "sando" takes exactly the same amount of time as "sandwich." I timed it.
Here's a few examples of things that are not "sandos":
- tuna salad sandwich
- grilled cheese
Next time you hear someone saying "sando" to sound hip, one-up them by reminding them that sandos started out in Japan being sold at, ugh, convenience stores. Who's hip now?
Repeat after me: sandwich.
"Do better" are two very average words. But combined together and deployed on social media, they've become a polite, passive-aggressive way to say F.U., especially on Twitter.
Saying "do better" is a way to have a tantrum and seem powerful — but in a pretend-civilized manner. For example:
- "Do better" is what you say to the guy who wasn't wearing his mask properly and sneezed in your direction but you want to look like you're taking the high road
- "Do better" is what you say when you're whining at an airline for making you wait but want to pretend you're giving them valuable business advice
- "Do better" is what you say to the people who still eat at Chick Fil-A and you don't want to outright call them names
The fact that "do better" is so very vague, with no metrics, makes it all the more ineffective. It's not even a superlative. It's not "do best" — it's "improve slightly in an unmeasurable way." What kind of goal is that.
Comedian Sarah Silverman is the only exception:
underserved and undeserved look too much alike. Do better, language.
9:33 PM · Dec 27, 2021
Rest in power
For more than a century, if you died, the thing people said was Rest In Peace. RIP. But for a certain kind of online hipster, Rest In Peace is no longer cool enough. It has to be Rest In Power. Even when it's your Granny or a neighbor you liked or The Cars' singer Rick Ocasek.
Rest In Power started out as a social justice phrase, to eulogize victims who suffered inequality or discrimination, or else game-changing public figures.
Now it's become a virtue signaling thing, showing how down you are.
LoveToKnow.com wisely suggests you should only be using the phrase if you're prepared to perpetrate some social justice of your own.
This one is still new, but it's a super-buzzy word right now, and unfortunately being tossed about in all sorts of ways that sound wrong.
Cohort used to mean your buddies. You and your cohorts went to the club. This is the correct context.
But Silicon Valley started using it in strange new ways, and this has set off a chain reaction of dumb and dumber usages. For example:
- One site talks about grouping people into cohorts. Using "groups" didn't sound technical enough?
- A business is graduating its second cohort of companies. Using "round" was too '90s?
- Vox just welcomed its new cohort of fellows. Using "class" seemed too academic?
It's really just people trying to sound smarter than they are, and so the time has come: We must organize a cohort of people against this flagrantly wrong use of cohort.