Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Now with improved readability
When the history of the English language is perused, our lifetime will be known for crap. Words that mean nothing. Phrases that mean nothing.

The other day I saw a beer commercial that claimed the product had "superb drinkability." What the fuck is that? A beer that can be consumed, now that's an innovative concept. As opposed to what? All those other beers that turn to concrete in the mouth, cutting off the airways and necessitating a visit from the EMTs? Drinkability? What does that actually mean?

Adding "ability" to words is one of the fake word constructs that just busts my bloomers. Imagine if this catches on. "Gosh, Mrs. Jones, your pot roast sure has eatability!" "I love this new soap, it has such an abundance of cleanability." "I can't wait to crawl into bed, I'm just full of sleepability." These words mean absolutely nothing! If you want to say your beer tastes good, say "our beer taste good." But drinkability?

Almost as bad is the way "marketing speak" has taken over American society. It's gotten to the point that nonsense phrases that mean absolutely nothing have become so common we don't even notice them anymore. Here's a tip....when you see any sentence that begins with the word "enabling" you don't need to read that sentence because it will make no sense. "Enabling enterprise-class business solutions." Does anyone really know what that means? I saw one catch phrase (I forget the product) that boasted grandly "enabling tomorrow." Oh, really? Tomorrow will happen because of you? The sun will rise because of your geeky software/car with back-lit cup holders/investment package?

What happened to clarity? To words that mean something and phrases that make sense? I tell you, I weep for us.

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