Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Good god, y'all"

Poisonous darts of the semantical kind, that's what I'm givin you.

Everybody's saying "absolutely" about positively everything, says CNN. (And it's OJ's fault.)

"It's a verbal virus that's spreading unchecked on TV, radio and in print.

Are we in a recession, Senator? 'Absolutely not.' Was Michael Jackson a musical genius? 'Absolutely.' Want syrup on those pancakes? 'Absolutely.'

It's even reached the highest office in the land. When President Obama was recently asked by a Pakistani journalist if he read Urdu poetry, he said: "Absolutely."

And why, at a time of so much uncertainty, are so many people so absolutely sure of so much?

(It's) 'Semantic surety' for uncertain times--people don't know if their 401(k) will be secure; their children's toys free of lead or if their favorite public figure is going to be exposed as a hypocrite.

But using 'absolutely' makes one feel as if there is something someone can count on, even if one has doubts.

An etymologist can trace the origin and development of a word, but who can identify the moment when absolutely took off?

Rex Bossert, an assistant dean at the University of California, Irvine's School of Law, thinks he can. He blames O.J.

He says he noticed people starting favoring the word during the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He points to Simpson's plea. When Simpson was asked at his 1994 arraignment on twin murder charges if he was guilty, he didn't just say not guilty--Simpson said: 'Absolutely, 100 percent not guilty.'

In the court of public opinion, celebrities now know that people are cynical, Bossert says. They expect spin and deception. Invoking 'absolutely' is someone's attempt to say, I'm not like the other guys, he says.

'In a time where there is so much mendacity and prevarication, a simple affirmation such as "yes" doesn't quite cut it anymore,' he says.

It's also a way for pundits, bloggers and talk-show hosts to elevate themselves during the 24-hours news cycle...In the rapid-fire exchanges between debaters on news shows, "absolutely" is the linguistic version of an exclamation point."

"I've learned when you drink Absolut straight it burns" - Meth.

Remember the part where Terminator killed Tookie
Absolute power corrupts absolutely

DOOM - "Absolutely"



1 comment:

Rafi said...

Not to mention the vodka ads... Absolut Economic Collapse.