Archive for October, 2008

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

October 19, 2008

“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

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

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.