Ben implodes the English language by juxtaposing business blather with suburban culture and segues from boondoggles to stupidites. You so shouldn't miss this.
By Ben Bull
Published February 15, 2006
I have something very important that I'd like to say - or rather, something very important I'd like not to say. You see, there's a subject I've been wanting to talk about for a long time but wasn't quite sure how to bring it up.
It's about words: words and phrases to be precise. You see I have this list of words that I've been writing in my journal. They are words that I hate – words that should never be used. Every time I hear a new one I go to my journal and jot it down.
And then I cross my fingers and hope I never see or hear it again.
Well, now my journal is full. Full of childish doodles and illegible scratchings mainly, but still full. So I thought this would be a good time to throw the book away and pass these words along to you. Maybe we could start a campaign or something - to get them removed from the dictionary? It's worth a try.
So please, allow me to present to you, from the darkest depths of my writer's journal, Ben's Top Ten list of Annoying Sords.
"We'll make up a new word and then spend the rest of our lives using it, and correcting other people who use it incorrectly," they thought.
"And then, once people get the hang of it we'll invent another word. Or else change the meaning of this one."
That's what experts do. In fact that's all the experts are really – people who use words other people don't understand – right Ryan?
Implosion is a stupid word, it doesn't really mean anything and I vote we blast it right out of the dictionary.
Hey Ryan! How's it goin', man? How are the kiddies? Good? Great! Yeah I really liked that last piece you did, etc., etc. Okay, the buttering up is over: Ryan! Why do you use this word, man? You're killing me!
And don't pretend you never did, 'cos I saw you.
I was spying on that last piece you put in The Spec and there it was. It had your fingerprints [Newsprints? - Ed.] all over it. I got you bang to writes! (ho ho...no? Not clever?)
People (Ryan) should really try to avoid using scary words that Ben does not understand because, well, because Ben does not understand them. It's not that he's stupid it's just that they cause him to become very self-conscious and do strange things like write in the third person.
All words with five syllables should be banned if you ask me. I mean, what if you get it in Charades? You're screwed.Juxtaposition: it's too long, I don't know what it means, I can't be bothered to look it up, and we should all stop using it. Thanks (Ryan).
This word is my own fault for joining the ranks of sleazy consultants and self-obsessed business people. People who walk around in expensive suits getting paid lots of money for writing reports and sounding important really deserve words like this.
Those of you who are "in business" will be familiar with the popular board room game known as "Bullshit Bingo". For the uninitiated, Bullshit Bingo involves writing out a list of very annoying business-seminar-type words, and then crossing them off each time the presenter uses them.
Once you've crossed them all off you shout, "Bullshit Bingo!" and the presenter scowls at you and you get fired. Segue is always on the Bullshit Bingo scorecard. And it always gets crossed off.
I vote we cross it off for good.
Talking of crossing off words (Hey – wasn't that clever? The way I moved, seamlessly from one topic to another? Isn't there a word for that...?), vis-à-vis is a great candidate for the dictionary of lost words.
As a general rule, I think any word that causes your computer to put little accents over some of the letters should be banned. I mean, they're not even English.
I'm not French, so why would I talk French in the middle of an otherwise English sentence? It doesn't make any sense.
If I was giving somebody directions, would I suddenly shout, "Achtung! You eez going ze wrong way!"?
Of course not. That would scare them away.
French words do not belong in English sentences, they belong to French people. I vote we give this one back and stick to our own highly superior language. Comprende?
Hi Jase. Look man, when you want to go for a coffee or drag me around town on one of your 'Hamilton is on the rebound' tours of dilapidated neighbourhoods can you maybe fire me an invite without the words touch base in there?
You're not even a suit and tie bod, you're a bloody preacher or a pastor, or something, so why are you using words like this? Leave them on the Bullshit Bingo card where they belong. Thanks. And yep, 5 o'clock this evening should be fine. I'll bring my mitt.
This phrase is the curse of my monotonous and soon-to-be-forgotten suburban fantasy. "Would Jack like to come for a Play Date this weekend?" said my son's friends Mum on the phone the other day.
When I asked her what the hell she was talking about she said something about her 'kids schedules' and Chucky Cheese and then more words I didn't understand.
Apparently she wanted to set up a date and time for her kid to play with my kid.
What's all that about? Apparently, when you live in the suburbs, you become so schedule-oriented and overly busy that the mere thought of just popping in unannounced at a friends house, or walking down the street and knocking on someone's door, is simply horrifying.
Holy crap – what if I'm on my way to hockey practice? Or just getting back from hockey practice? Or maybe planning the next hockey practice? (This is what people do in the suburbs right? Hockey practice? I can't think of anything else, I'm not very good at this suburb thing).
Play Dates are stupid. Playing is supposed to be spontaneous and carefree and fun. Appointments are not spontaneous or fun. Save the appointment book for the dentist, and send your kid round whenever you want.
Unless I'm at hockey practice, or washing my car, or buying a big screen TV... In fact, on second thoughts – maybe we should set something up?
I'm not sure if this is Canadian or American, but it definitely is stupid. At what point did everyone in North America become programmed to automatically respond to every "Thank You" with a ubiquitous, "You're Welcome"?
I mean, did we all work in the hotel industry in a former life? It's sickly, it's cheesy, and it's devoid of all sincerity. "You're Welcome" means "Go Away!" Which is exactly what I want this phrase to do. Thank You (You're Welco...Arr!).
Boondoggle is one in a long line of 'lemming words' that I hate. You know these words – the media uses them to describe some sort of caper and suddenly we're all saying them.
Something-something-gate, Shock and Awe, Bennifer – the list goes on. And it's way too long. John Stewart did a montage on his Daily Show a few months back. It cobbled together all the various US media pundits who were using the words 'Shock and Awe'.
It was terrible – everybody was using it.
What's the deal with this? Do we live in a cartoon land or something? Does everything have to be boiled down to something catchy and cute? Did we ever get past Grade 8?! Operation Shock and Awe...it's enough to make you want to catch the next space ship outta here.
I should be careful here, because I know I've used this word many times in this piece. But I'm talking about the spoken word here, and stupid is a word I really don't like to hear spoken (especially when people are using it to describe me).
Susie, my missus, won't let anybody use it in our house, and I think that's a good plan.
'Stupid is as stupid does,' said Forrest Gump. I don't really know what that means, so I guess that makes me...not so smart?
OK, so it's not actually Chandler from Friends that I hate – or his name – I don't even watch the show. No, it's that ridiculous reverse negative thing he does with his sentences.
"Oh, that is so not true," he says to Ross, or the dopey one, and then everybody laughs. Everyone is using it now. It's nuts.
And it's not just teenagers. The other day my 40 year old work mate turned to me and said, "Ben, that segue was so not cool," after which somebody shouted "Bullshit Bingo" and got himself fired.
If this nonsense carries on I won't have anyone left to talk to.
Well, that's my list. Thanks very much for hearing me out. If you have any ideas on how we can strike these words from the record then I'd love to hear them.
But for now I think I'd better crack open another journal. We just finished wrapping up my son's birthday bash and one of the parents said something to her kid about, "Good Sharing".
I'm just going outside to see what these strange lights are. With any luck they'll be coming to take me away...
Next Week – Five Words I Really Like, and will try to use more often.
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