Thursday, March 31, 2011

Affectations (3) - a list from George Carlin

The late comic George Carlin, a keen observer of language, often satirized silly affectations. For example, here’s one of his routines from the late 1980s, containing a long list of examples. Warning: adult language.

Now I’d like to begin tonight with an opening announcement. Because of the FCC, I’m never sure what it is I’m allowed to say. So I now have my own official policy. This is the language you will not be hearing tonight. You will not hear me say bottom line, game plan, role model, scenario, or hopefully.

I will not kick back, mellow out, or be on a roll. I will not go for it and I will not check it out. I don’t even know what it is. And when I leave here, I definitely will not boogie.

I promise not to refer to anyone as a class act, a beautiful person, or a happy camper. I will also not be saying, What a guy!

And you will not hear me refer to anyone’s lifestyle. If you want to know what a moronic word lifestyle is, all you have to do is realize that in a technical sense Attila the Hun had an active outdoor lifestyle.

I will also not be saying any cute things, like Moi? And I will not use the French adverb tres to modify any English adjectives, such as tres awesome, tres gnarly, tres fabu, tres intense, or tres out of sight.

I will not say concept when I mean idea. I will not say impacted when I mean affected. There will be no hands-on, state-of-the-art networking. We will not maximize, prioritize, or finalize. And we definitely will not interface.

There will also be no New Age lingo spoken here tonight – no support group jargon from the Human Potential Movement. For instance, I will not share anything with you.

I will not relate to you and you will not identify with me. I will give you no input and I will expect no feedback. This will not be a learning experience, nor will it be a growth period. There’ll be no sharing, no caring, no birthing, no bonding, no parenting, no nurturing. We will not establish a relationship, we will not have any meaningful dialog, and we definitely will not spend any quality time.

We will not be supportive of one another so that we can get in touch with our feelings in order to feel good about ourselves. And if you’re one of those people who needs a little space, please, go the f*** outside!

The Takeaway: Affectations may be fine for stand-up comedy. But when you are writing copy intended for serious adults, affectations impair your credibility.

See disclaimer.

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