If you watch Stewart or Colbert, you are familiar with the phenomenom of a catchphrase being coined and then spreading like a virus to every talking head on the tube (LEDs, plasmas, what-have-you.) It’s bad enough that they’re all bleating the same song but what makes it worse is they always pretend like they just came up with it themselves. I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, but I’d like to submit the following candidates for expunging.
10. Blood and treasure. This one is often used in conjunction with the cost of war. For some reason, it’s always invoked with know-it-all faux gravitas as if the invoker is the only one aware that wars are actually bad. There’s also a pretense of literary eloquence, which may have been legitimate the first nine thousand times it’s been uttered. Leave the treasure to the pirates. War is bad. People are maimed and killed. It’s expensive. We get it.
9. Perfect Storm. Saw the movie. Sad. But the idea was Perfect Storms are rare events. There seems to be a “Perfect Storm” of something darn near every day. Perfect Storms for re-election, Perfect Storm for recessions, Perfect Storms for retail sales. The Jets defensive coordinator cited his squad’s “Perfect Storm” in both their win over the Cardinals and their loss to the Patriots. Enough already. Let’s reserve this one for weather.
8. Super Storm. This one came along as a mid season replacement for Perfect Storm. It started with Sandy, which was legit, but soon found its way into sports, politics and entertainment.
7. Mother(s) of All. Saddam got this one started and it really had its heyday back in the early 90’s. But it’s back. Mother of All Bailouts. Mother of All Oil Spills. Even Mother of All Battles – except this time it’s Syria instead of Iraq. What exactly does one’s mother have to do with anything anyway? If Mike Tyson can kick your ass, should you assume that Mike Tyson’s mother can really kick your ass? (Well, in my case: yes.)
6. Founding Fathers. Whenever there is some cockamamie right wing conservative/reactionary idea afloat, you can be sure that some wingnut is going to weigh in on behalf of the Founding Fathers. I’m not going to throw mud at the FF’s, I think they did an exemplary job getting things started. But time marches on: science, society, culture and politics advance. The Founding Fathers would be completely out of their depth if they were to appear in today’s society.
5. The New Normal. “Is this the New Normal?” No, it isn’t. Things happen that you don’t expect. After they happen, you expect them. Then something else happens you didn’t expect. The things you expect are normal. The ones you don’t are not. The New Normal is just another way of saying, “Well, I didn’t expect that, but I guess I do now…”
4. We The People. This is generally used as a smarmy substitute for just “the people” or “the citizens” or “the voters” or “the taxpayers” primarily to give the impression that the speaker is not only a patriotic conservative, but is also familiar with the Constitution. I’m all for “We The People” as in anti-authoritarianism or anti-monarchy or even anti-government. However, it is often invoked when “We the People” vote down gay marriage, medical marijuana or universal health care. More like, “We The Majority” which is admittedly fair, but not really what the Framers meant by “We The People.”
3. Tea Party Candidate. This is actually a perfectly legitimate phrase. It’s just after Bachmann, Akin, Palin, O’Donnell (Christine, not Rosie) they seem to have a low bar for intellect. I suppose that could be said for all parties, but for some reason these folks scare me the most. I don’t expect them to go away in 2013, but hopefully they’ll be a little pickier in the primaries.
2. Job Creators. Do business owners, inventors, entrepreneurs create jobs? Yes – but not by themselves. I used to be an employer. I never created a job I didn’t have to. Opportunity creates jobs. Innovation creates jobs. Wars, fires, crime, pollution, hunger, sickness and death ALSO create jobs. I applaud the risk takers, the small business owners, the entrepreneurs, the innovators. But, please, spare me the benevolent ruling class, without whom the rest of us could not exist. They create jobs when it’s in their best interest. And they destroy them when it’s in their best interest too.
1. Fiscal Cliff. If we don’t do anything taxes will go back to what they were under Bill Clinton. Which we can trim at any time. We’re all going to die! Get real. Let them go up “automatically.” Then trim them back some. Everybody wins.