Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grievance Notice

The things people say in an effort to appear cool and hip sometimes drive me into a rage.

"Ramp up".

"Let's ramp up sales in the next quarter". "Ramping up the warp conatinment field, captain". "We expect to ramp up production on the new Chrysler LeBehemoth despite the complete collapse of any demand whatsoever for any model of Chrysler vehicle".

The phrase "ramp up" comes originally from the electronics industry, where the term "increase" was probably deemed by someone - no doubt hypnotized by the seductive squiggles on his oscilloscope - not to be doing an adequate job in the description department, and one might excuse electronics dweebs for doing that because, let's face it, they probably don't get out much. Once released into the wild, though, this phrase was substituted for the oh-so eighties "increase" in every bloody place it could be.

"We need to ramp-up the blueberry count in our wholewheat muffin products". "Ramping up the voter turnout should be our primary concern".

I feel sick.


Never in the history of English language neologisms has there been a coined word that has been so over- and mis-used as "grok". I grind my teeth every time some twerp uses it in their blog or newsfeed in a misguided attempt to become one with the gestalt blogosphereing public.

I doubt even half of the idiots who use this have actually read "Stranger in a Strange Land", an attempt by an already aging Robert Heinlein to prove he was hip and still relevant in the crazy world of 1960s SF. You'll have to read the thing in order to see why "grok" doesn't mean "understand" and why in every single case that it is used in everyday English it could be replaced by the words "understand" or "get".

Any time I read something with this word in it that isn't "Stranger in a Strange Land" I just stop reading and label the writer as a twonk of the first order.


Azathoth, is there anything more pathetic than a nickname given to someone by themself? Yes there is: the word "blogosphere", as though a bunch of disparate ranting gits formed some sort of consensus of meaning that the world should notice and thereby require a special collective noun with which to identify them. Shub-Niggurath on a bike.

Of course, this could just be me being old and grumpy. Maybe I should just try seeing it from the other person's point-of-view.

I just can't see myself ramping up my groking of the blogosphere any time soon, is all.

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