Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the soup is not amazing and that snowflake is not a poem

I am sick of useless adjectives. Not adjectives in general, but just the handful that my generation relentlessly uses to describe everyfuckingthing. They're not bad words; they've just been hanging around the wrong crowd. (Idiots.) They're always positive words, because sorostitutes with coke-rotted brains like everything. Words like amazing, awesome, fabulous, fantastic, and so on.

Those are just a few I heard today. Someone in a show I was captioning used the phrase "amazing farmer." Really? He's amazing? What the fuck does he grow? Invisible carrots? Gasoline trees? No, I do believe those were just some winter greens. And the mushrooms, while they looked delicious, are not "awesome."

Martha Stewart is particularly guilty of this. I once heard her use the phrase "fabulous drop cloth." I've seen drop cloths. I've used drop cloths. In fact, I used one just this weekend. And I can assure you all that its ability to keep paint off my kitchen floor did not astound or otherwise impress me. It just did what it was supposed to do -- actually, it did that and more, because it was an old shower curtain. It came out of retirement to protect our laminate. And even that I did not find amazing.

While we're all at it, everyone can stop using the word "miracle." Everything is a goddamn miracle. A baby is a miracle, a sunrise is a miracle, not getting hit by an asteroid is a miracle.

No. Just, no. Things can be positive without being a miracle -- and they also don't have to be wonderful, amazing, or any other lazy adjective.

And as a sub-diversion, I'd also like to point out that not everything is a poem. Sunrises are popular here, too. Flowers are poems. Children's laughter. Snowflakes.

Again, no. The people who insist on perpetuating this kind of bullshit are the same people who insist that all talent is supernaturally doled out; that honing a craft is useless. They reduce everything to the simplest definition possible because thinking is way too hard.

This has turned into a new rant, but that's okay.

A while back, I stumbled across www.helium.com and found what I thought was going to be a forum of intelligent discussion. The way it works is this: anyone can write anything on any topic they choose, and other writers/readers rank those articles. Unfortunately, the other members (or at least those who are active in the poetry discussions) are complete and utter morons. I wrote an article a topic called "Why is poetry so hard to define?" Here is that article. It's currently ranked 45 out of 63 because apparently Jack Nicholson was right and they can't handle the truth.

Here's the number-one ranked article, which is complete bullshit. The eye of the beholder? Um, no. Art can be subjective, but a poem means what the poet intends. If there's ambiguity in a poem, it's intentional. (Well, in a good poem, anyway.) How in fuck does a number-one ranked article on poetry assume that every poem rhymes? And contain misspellings and incorrect grammar and punctuation? What the fuck? "A writer uses their skill to convey a message." "Their" is plural, asshole. I'd really like to round up every breathlessly passionate poet I have ever met and have an intervention for every one of these jackasses. We'll see how impossible they find the definition of poetry after that.

I guess we all know what kind of professor I'm going to be. I hope I don't ever hit my students, but I'm not going to promise anything.


Scott said...

If only we could move backwards in time about 20 years and make you a teacher. For some reason, I imagine the thud and the puff of white dust as you pelt some aspiring poet laureate of a cheerleader with an eraser. Did I just have a moment of nostalgia over chalkboards and erasers? I think I just did...

So flash forward about 5 years from now; What would Manda throw? Her mouse? Her laser pointer? Nicole Ritchie? Maybe we could make some money with a WWMD campaign? Who can say!

Nate said...

I'm going to whatever college you teach at. Because it will be uber fantastical (how's THAT for an adjective?)

And if you do end up beating your students, make sure that the paddle has holes in it (less wind resistance).

mineIsay said...

thank you manda for an enjoyable read. I agree, even though I am often guilty of finding things awesome. What if an act isn't awesome, but the joy from the act is worth a few extra adjectives? Just a thought from a girl who used to rhyme all her poems :) (aurora)

Cindy said...

Here are a couple of words that I detest and try to avoid:

1) Interesting. Ooooo, this one burns me up. Especially when I hear people say it on NPR.
2) "They." I mean, c'mon, a-hole, be descriptive. Who the hell is "they."

Wifey, I am so with you on this. I feel the same way about navigation systems in cars.

Cindy said...

Here are a couple of other aspects of human nature that I detest:

1) People whose repsonse to "How are you today" is "I wish it was Friday" or "I wish it was 5:00." Okay, first off, it's a subjective statment and therefore you use WERE you fucking grammar moron. And two, we all wish it were Friday or five o'clcok. While we're at it, I'd like to have firm, yet suple, breasts when I'm fifty.

2) People who tell me on Friday thats it's Friday. Really, it is? Fuck you.

2) People who talk about what they are going to have when they are at a restaurant and then get upset when someone else wants what they want and then they argue over who is getting something different. Who cares! Just order, assholes.

4)People who spell things with a "z" instead of an "s."

5) I'm going to stop now before my head explodes.

Amanda said...

Wifey: And this is why I am proud to be your wife. Because I, too, hope you have firm, supple breasts when you're 50.

Poodle: I think WWMT will be a smashing success. Also, the answer is often going to be "her shoe."

CCB & the Bookbinders: How in hell old are you all, anyway? I like to think that I'm doing my part to corrupt the youth of America. "Uber fantastical" is fine as long as you don't pronounce "uber" like the kid on the Quiznos commercial: "boober."

Lysa: It's not so much the words as it is people using them way too goddamn much. I mean, everything can't be "fabulous," you know?

Anyone who inexplicably substitutes a "Z" for an "S" in any given word: kill yourself now and save me the trouble.

Nate said...

Oh My Goodness.

Cindy, you are in my Top 5 heros now (Number 2 below Amanda hehe).
Keep dreaming about those supple breasts, haha.

Amanda: We range in age anywhere from 14-18 (Highschoolians, at least that's what we call ourselves sometimes) and VERY impressionable. I think if I started a movement to get all of us to go to where you'll be teaching, most of us will follow you.

Just like Scott, flash forward a few years:
Class would have just ended, and a swarm of college kids would be leaving you classroom. You'd turn around, look at your desk and BAM! our book would be right there.

How awesome would that be?