Saturday, April 24, 2010

Modern Clichés

Cliché - [klee-shey} 

a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.
(in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
British Printing.
a stereotype or electrotype plate.
a reproduction made in a like manner.
trite; hackneyed; stereotyped; clichéd. 
Let's consider a few modern clichés. I particularly love definitions 1 & 3 because this aspect of the cliché is the one that frustrates me the most. I abhor the abuse and overuse of simple phrases. I feel they are used by many people to exhibit that they are somehow cool, knowledgeable, popular, modern or at least aspiring to be those things. (I very hard tried to avoid the cliché "with it")

Modern clichés have something of a tipping point. They should be short lived and yet they persevere beyond being fashionably acceptable. Examples could be any clichéd phrase or expression from the 90's TV show Friends. I'd even go so far to say that people who personify the speech patters of these characters are committing a crime of the modern cliché.  Examples:
  1. Wow. Just; Wow.
  2. Ya think?!
  3.  The word "So" placed unnecessarily in a sentence with exaggerated expression.
I'm sure you can think of many yourself. Yet these are still heard in everyday conversation by mimicers in casual conversation. I hate this so much I avoid using the "So" inflection or even the word So - why does it appear at the beginning of sentences? - from conversation.

You only need to read a few YouTube comments to be bombarded with atrociously overused phrases that are supposed to impart some kind of acceptability on the person using them. We are to judge them as one of us, but I judge them as hopeless posers.

I'm not immune. I have caught myself uttering this stupidity - it's infectious! But I at least have the grace to be ashamed of myself, slap my hand and reconsider what the fuck I'm talking about.

Even swearing has become something of a modern cliché. The slipping of curse words into conversation for shock value is no longer shocking. We aren't stunned to hear Fuck said on TV anymore. Why would be shocked by someone using fuck as the Valley girl abused "Like"? Still does by my ear.

Even more frustrating is hearing a young person use a relatively modern cliché that they have no clue about its origin. Example being when I heard a teenager refer to his ex a "Bunny boiler" and he had no idea where the term came from or its movie reference.

These terms and phrases must become conversation clangers. The desperate need for an ever new and modern phrase is apparent by the popularity of the site Urban Dictionary. Heard something you didn;t understand but didn't want to appear like an out-of-the-loop dweeb? Urban dictionary is there to help you. Once understood the phrase can be used to boost the credibility of the user until that phrase tips off into poserland and cliche.

Here's a small list of some I wish would hurry along to Poserland because I cringe when I hear them:
  • That's so last year, season, century etc.
  • Vajayjay
  • Any slang reference to male urination or masturbation which tend to become a contest of crudeness. Like "Shake the snake" and "Choke the chicken". Ditto for women's expressions of the same. (Thankfully no one says they "creamed" themselves anymore. That was icky.)
  • OMG!!
  • Buh-bye now.
  • Dude. Anything dude. Most annoying is women using the word dude to call other women dude.
  • I puked in my mouth a little.
  • LOL Catz speak. I know lots of people find it fun but it makes me crumple my forehead and feel pity. Especially anything prefixed with "Teh"
  • Facepalm* 
  • I peed a little, A little wee came out*
I think you get where I'm going. I do include single word as a cliché because even a word is not immune to over use to the point of unoriginality. This is never more evident than when my kids use the words I use to describe stuff like cool, awesome I shouldn't use "sucks" but my Dad used it like folk today use "Fucking piece of shit!!" which is why to me it carries a deepness of insult it actually does not. My Dad never said "Fuck off." he said "Blow it out you ear!" with a face as angry and red as if he'd actually told me to fuck off. Rarely he said ass instead of ear.

What modern clichés drive you crazy?

*edited to add as I'm reminded I dislike these things.


Victoria said...

This is great.

Personally, I'm tired of "that's what she said" .. though I've been told it's been around for hundreds (!) of years..

"Buh-bye now" - yes, hate it (for at least ten years..)

The whole vomiting a little in one's mouth = YES!


Possibly, "Thanks."

It's the period at the end. An email thing. It's been going on forever.

It's considered at minimum bitchy and maximum passive-aggressive.. I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of them bother me and now I'm going to be completely paranoid when I blog because I'm sure I use about 80 cliches a post!

Lyvvie said...

Victoria - I'd have to say folk who say TTFN annoy more than the passive-aggressive thanks. Yet I know what you's the unsaid "You bitch" following the thanks. Yes.

HiH - You aren't counted in this, although you do use the word vajayjay but you then have such wonderful, graphic posts the VJJ softening is acceptable. Don't change because I'm an intolerant shit.

jomamma said...

Victoria hit on a few of my choices, the one that drives me nuts and has from the first day I'd heard it is "my bad". What the hell is that supposed to mean? I just want to say to the person "If that's supposed to be an apology, then yes you are bad because your grammar sucks." I work in a school, the teachers AND Asst. Principal (soon to be THE principal) say this! Are you trying to put yourself on an equal plain with the kids so they will identify with you more? It's not going to happen! They are just looking at you like you are a 6ft over 20 moron who thinks he's cool. They DON'T want to be your best friend.

It's become a competition of some kind. Who can entertain with the most or most up to date cliches? I'm bowing out of the competition, or at least hope to come in last, maybe second to last next to you Lyvvie.

I think everyone should read The New Earth and quit trying to boost their ego. Someone either finds you interesting by what you say or what you don't say. It's OK.

Overboard said...

I absolutely totally agree with you. You also chose most of the words or sayings that I find to be sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ugh.

Maja said...

I love cliches! I've been calling people dude since I can't even remember when. Coz I like it. I don't think cliches will ever go away.

I don't think people consciously use cliches to try to be cool. You get into a habit of using certain expressions. I think it also expresses a bond between people who talk the same way together.

tornwordo said...

At the end of the day annoys me. And lately I hate hate hate the "z" instead of "s" on plurals.

Oh and how about literally when it means "not literally" as in, I literally shit my pants when I heard the news.


Lyvvie said...

Maja - My personal hate issue with "Dude" is I was raised in New England and was surrounded by pseudo-surf pinheads who'd never surfed in their lives acting like they were from LA and lost their virginity to Gidget to the music of The Beach Boys. Add to that the cult success of Fast Times At Ridgemont High and my dislike for pot culture (Pot makes me vomit violently and I despise the smell of it and I hate how it turns people into lazy zombies. But I'm pro legalization.) lastly I offer up Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and the constant parroting of those two characters with their never ending "Dude" with a sprinkle of Pauly Shore on top to round off the dude cake.

I hear "Dude" and I get a flash of all of that. Negative association at it's worst.

The point of a modern phrase that's used among the cliques is to identify within that particular group and it's mindsets apart from the rest of the herd. One who is not in that group and could not ever be in that group - let's use Paris Hilton as an example and her use of "That's Hot" all the time - becomes someone trying to express acceptance by knowing the language of the group. Then others follow suit and all want to portray a kinship and association to Paris Hilton. They all say "That's Hot" They may even try and morph the phrase into "That's So Hott" with two Ts and a dreaded So. Eventually enough people mimic this phrase to gain association that it tips over into cliché and the original group drop the phrase because it's original purpose - to set themselves apart from the herd - is lost in its absorption by the common populace.

It makes me think that split off social groups are not socially acceptable and the majority are forever trying to reabsorb them and crush individuality. But when that individuality is kind of dumb, I say; let them go!

Tornwordo - Yes!! I completely agree!

Anonymous said...

I use "dude" all the time. I think I came out of my mother's vajajay saying, "dude, those forceps fucking hurt!"

To the list of cliches that must die:

At the end of the day...