November 6, 2010 by

The origin of this term can be traced to the preeminent twat-wad Buckminster Fuller, the man responsible for geodesic spheres such as this monstrosity. Congratulations, Buck. You constructed a giant toy.

The concept itself isn’t so bad. Basically its when the combined action of multiple entities produces a better outcome than if the entities acted separately. Whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts kinda thing. The idea has been around for a while. In music,  two singers singing different notes simultaneously produce a stronger effect than if the notes were sung separately. Two people carrying a long table across a room will find the job more efficient than each person carrying the table in turn. No shit. A 5-year old could intuitively grasp and utilize this concept without the aid of a portmanteau. And yet, millions of corporate strategists named “Keith” or “Brad” think they’ve touched on a real productivity gem when they use this meaningless string of letters as space filler on a power point slide.


Party foul!

November 6, 2010 by

party referee?

Stop. Collaborate. And listen: There is no such thing as a party referee. Referees are, by definition, people who mete out penalties for inappropriate behaviors, such as unnecessary roughness (belligerent drunks), hand-checking (elbows will fly when drinks are in hand and in stomach), charging (people drunkenly trying to reenact “The Lift” from Dirty Dancing), blocking (of the cock- variety), etc. But any person with a fun bone in his or her body knows one basic truth:

Those things = Good party

Yes, there are spilled drinks from limbs flailed, and yes, sometimes someone “travels” over to the iPod to skip Europe’s “The Final Countdown” because he or she has no proper sense of irony. But guess what, party ref? That comes with the territory, meaning it is in no way “out of bounds.”

It’s all good.

December 16, 2009 by

If you find yourself within earshot of this particularly insidious utterance, you can count on the fact that “it” is most assuredly not “all good.” You’ve probably heard this used by some happy-go-lucky jerk-off who is either completely clueless as to the severity of the situation, or is simply unable to come up with any substantial words of reassurance. On the surface it may seem as if this person is offering genuinely optimistic, kind-hearted words but the insertion of a hyperbolic “all” into the phrase just draws attention to the fact that something is definitely wrong.

“Oh right, Todd, ‘it’s all good’ is it? Yeah, except for the fact that you just spilled a pint of blue-flavored Mad Dog all over the fucking hand-knit wool scarf my great aunt Edna made for me. Clumsy shit. You can’t just fix this in three words.”


What can I do ya for? (guest writer, Zachy O)

February 13, 2009 by

With only six single-syllable words, one person brings together all the hardships facing the modern person with one seemingly clever turn of phrase.  Congratulations, you switched two words around and changed common decency into a black cloud of linguistic destruction.  Aren’t you sharp?  I bet you kill at parties with this one!  I bet you also don’t know that you nearly kill our country every time you utter this abomination.  Let us elucidate the point of how truly detestable this phrase is in two clear points:

1)  By switching around the two words at the end of the original altruistic phrase, you quickly establish an imbalance of power often seen in struggling capitalistic societies whereby a monetary value has been assigned to a human life.  Thank you for reminding everyone of their potential to go from sacred to down and dirty prostitute.  And if it wasn’t bad enough that newspapers remind us on a daily basis of the financial crisis, you feel the need to remind us that everything has a monetary value and therefore subject to our increased stress over not being able to afford it. 

2)  We’re all adults and can acknowledge the sexual undertone to this detestable phrase.  Well isn’t that great, you have now sexually harassed someone in the most subtle of fashions.  No, no, go right ahead and make people feel uncomfortable.  It’s not like we live in a patriarchal society where women don’t earn as much and are sexually harassed throughout the workplace.  Let’s call a spade a spade:  saying “what can I do ya for” to someone is the equivalent of verbal rape.  Good job.  Chris Hansen doesn’t have a busy enough schedule catching pedophiles on “To Catch A Predator”, now he has to figure out a way to catch people verbally raping people.

In sum, every time you say “what can I do ya for”, you are crashing the stock market and victimizing countless people just looking for some assistance.  Not since the fictitious “Project Mayhem” has such consistent carnage been brought up this country.  But, no, please, act witty with your turn of a phrase.  By all means, bring us all down with you, you no-talent ass clown. 

Exception:  There is only one exception to the use of this phrase and that is if you live in the south, are fat, wearing overalls and are over the age of 60.  Having a piece of straw in your mouth at time of utterance is encouraged.

We’re No. 1

November 7, 2008 by

Oxford University researchers and Detestable Phrases bloggers: On the same page, at the end of the day.

“Super-Empowered Angry Men,” and other stories: Part II

October 19, 2008 by

“Globalization giveth … Globalization now taketh away … And now, we have to hope, that globalization will saveth.”

Thomas Friedman, Globalizilla, Serial Capitalizer and Multiple DP Offender

From the New York Times, Oct. 18, 2008

More power to ya

October 9, 2008 by

This phrase is meant to express support/encouragement/respect for another person’s decisions and habits. Some people use this phrase at least as often as they take a crap . Coincidentally, the two are functionally equivalent.

“If Mary wants to give herself a clitoral piercing with a staple gun, then hey – more power to her.”

“Well Hank, you may be a wife-beating nutcase, but more power to ya if thats your prerogative.” (speaking of which: misuse of the word “prerogative” may have its own special place on Detestable Phrases)

It’s almost as if supplementing an otherwise derisive or critical comment with “more power to you” removes any negative appraisal of the situation. Perhaps it was originally intended to suggest that it’s empowering to do something bold or that runs against convention, but like so many expressions, it was hijacked by dipshits. In fact, the phrase is so meaningless, I’m not even sure what I’m angry about. All I know is that if anyone declares “more power” to me, I’m going to stab that person in the kidney. 


at the end of the day

October 9, 2008 by

I spent the better part of the fall and spring interviewing political consultants for a “behind-the-scenes” look at the election. I didn’t learn so much — dudes were triiiickyyyy — but through talking to them and spending an endless number of hours transcribing the wonkiest of wonky tapes, I did, indeed, get an inside track on the more linguistic wonders of their catchphrase-riddled political world.

These campaign staffers all had a few things in common. Save for sweeping generalizations, they wouldn’t talk strategy, so as not to “show” their collective hands. Many of them thrived on describing the run-up to an election as a great big sporting match. Baseball, football, competitive pole dancing … it didn’t matter.  And above all, the whole lot of them tried to describe their campaign work in neat, pithy epithets. The key to their success?

“At the end of the day,” a favorite for those who specialize in attempts to turn complexity into meaninglessness. In reality, nothing really happens at the end of the day. If you’re a political consultant, you might set your Blackberry to “hands-free mode” for the drive home.

Or, if you’re leader-of-the-political-consultant-pack Mr. Rove, you do this at the end of the day:

Highly unproductive — like most campaigns — and potentially dangerous. Especially after sunset.

“me” time

July 28, 2008 by

Sometimes the Internet makes things too easy. I had a whole rant prepared about “me-timers,” precisely the same people who feel the need to stop, drop and “recharge their batteries.” But then I found this:

So it seems, in mathematical form:

(Me Time) = (James + Blunt) x (KT + Tunstall) x (Bathtub + HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM)

= (Die + Plz)

Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing in the WORLD wrong with the bathtub or drinking whole bottles of wine in the bathtub or being alone in the bathtub. Or being alone period. The funny thing is, the people who talk about needing “me time” are probably the ones who need it the least. They’re the same kinds of people who write mission statements for themselves and paste song lyrics on their walls, their favorite being, “If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

Oh yeah? I hope you drown. In your “me-timey” bathtub.

women: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em

June 27, 2008 by

first off, gross. aside being ridiculously heteronormative (unless it’s a woman saying it, which would likely be utterly ironic), erroneous (the speaker of this phrase can in fact live without women, future people cannot), and hilariously archaic (friggin’ erasmus of rotterdam is the genius attributed with coining this gem), its use as the world’s most annoying ‘paradox’ demands mention on the detestable phrase scene, as well as collective scorn from those who concern themselves with any sense of gender consciousness.

paradoxes are supposed to be informative. they speak to our contradictory notions of reality, truth and the good. they’re what people use to think in critical ways, helping us improve our own ethical and political ideologies in a–dare i say–“dialectical” fashion. the nihilist paradox (the statement “nothing is true” thus cannot be true) or “all Cretans are liars” are notable because they’re interesting twists in logic, forcing us to think and engage with oppositionality in varying ways.

but, erasmus, why can’t you live with women? is it because you are a bastard (really), your name reminds all of us of erasers, or because you were a g-d monk who actually never encountered women socially or sexually due to some weird religious ideal of mental and corporeal purity? other than the front made by your preposterous writing, you can live without women. you did. for at least 40 years. in a monastery. as an ordained priest. erasmus is like a guy who speaks about paris with a sigh, conflicted about its inseparable majesty and arrogance, the culture he cannot live without but the snobbery of isolated left bank-ites who produce it. but he’s never been. he heard about paris because of the effiel tower, social studies, and the da vinci code. but for us it’s even worse: not only is he speaking beyond his means, but we’re all so indebted to patriarchy that it doesn’t matter if erasmus, or any of us, have to really know women to hate them; we just do. because it makes sense… and provides a good horrible adage.