Friday, February 09, 2007
How Can Your New Makeup And The Grand Canyon Both Be "Awesome?"
When we use a word too much, it loses a lot of its power. The word "love" comes to mind.
Love is a powerful emotion, and the word "love" should rightfully be reserved for that. Instead, we use it in trivial ways.
We love pizza. We love dancing. We love Nordstrom's.
This is a word that should not be used lightly. We shouldn't say that we love some small thing in the same tone of voice we would use to say that we loved our Maker or our spouse or our sweetheart. (That was Aunt Jamesina's advice to Anne and Priscilla and Phillipa and Stella. Bonus points if you recognize the reference.)
Of course, the difference between "love" and "in love" are vast, too. Christine loved Erik, but she was in love with Raoul.
The word "awesome" has been trivialized, too. If we have an awesome time at a party, or we think someone's haircut is awesome, or we receive any and every little piece of news by thinking that it's all AWESOME, what have we left to describe a sunset, or a miracle?
People who describe every little thing in their lives with the superlative make me wonder how they describe the really important things.
When someone goes off the deep end over a trifle, what's left to describe a real tragedy?
I am also disappointed that the word "awful" has undergone such a drastic change. "Awful" is really the same thing as "awesome." When people spoke of something that was "God-awful" it was a positive thing, an inspiring thing, something that was, literally, "full of awe." Wondrous. Now, people use the expression "God-awful" when they describe something bad, like a burned pizza or a tacky outfit or a bad hair day. I hate that.
"Awesome" should never be used unless something is genuinely awesome. Don't waste it on a good pedicure. Goldie's brilliantly creative son (I would have LOVED to have him in class!) made this same observation a while back. (not about a pedicure, but the idea was the same.) (A pedicure was the most mundane thing I could think of at the moment.)
I said, a post or two back, that by overusing words that are supposed to have a real kick to them, we remove the kick. Some words are SUPPOSED to have shock value, so they can best describe truly shocking things. Other words are supposed to strike a chord deep within the recesses of our hearts, but we've cheapened them by using them to describe cheeseburgers.
We're so used to hearing dirty words, that the dirt is gone. Even the F-word has ceased to have much shock value any more. We're all beyond being shocked, or deeply touched, or blown away, or thunder-struck, or filled with wonder, any more, by words, and I really think it's because we have made the words that are supposed to be reserved for great emotion too common.
As for me, though, I can still be had with a few well-chosen words. They have power over me when nothing or no one else does. I'm sorry for people who are immune to the hypnotic and enriching power of words. You might not have me at 'hello,' but you might with some other word. So to speak.
Mamacita, Scheiss Weekly