I’m a writer. So, words are important to me – their meanings, their connotations, their ability to convey complex thoughts and ideas. Words are the tools that I use every day to tell the stories that appear in our magazine. I try to choose my words carefully, knowing that an incorrect word, here or there, can alter the reality that I’m trying to express. Because I have been entrusted by the people who tell me those stories, my solemn duty is to relay them to you, the reader, as straightforwardly and truthfully as I can. Thus, I spend much of my time and energy searching for the right words – constantly rethinking, refining, rewriting.
Not everyone has the same fealty to employing the right words. Some don’t even seem to respect them at all. TV advertisers, for example, unlike the print advertisers in our magazine, often use words to confuse, to misdirect, to frame a nonsensical narrative whose intent is to go beyond rational thought in order to appeal to a different part of us – the emotional part that is more easily swayed; to convince us, more often than not, to purchase something that we may not really need, or, in fact, may not even be good for us. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against advertising. It’s just that I would prefer to be told, in correct English, the benefits of a particular product or service rather than to have to face an endless onslaught of meaningless word salad.
This proclivity of mine – to insist upon the right words – has begun to make me an unwelcome partner at home, lately, as I have taken, more and more, to talking back angrily to the TV whenever I’m confronted with some pointless verbiage that I can only assume has been thought up by a gaggle of semi-literates buried somewhere deep within the bowels of some ad agency on a far-off planet where the rules of language are violated with unceasing regularity.
Herein, then, are a few of the choice slogans that I have had the unfortunate happenstance to gag on, recently. I defy anyone to define any one of them, or even to associate them with a material object that can be purchased and enjoyed. The fact is, however, that each tagline is one that you, yourself, most likely, have already heard. And each one is, indeed, associated with a major product whose true identity I refuse to reveal because none of their manufacturers should be rewarded for their crimes against my mother tongue. After each is a short synopsis of my actual retorts. (I have left out all of the $#@*%^!s – my wife should be so lucky.)
“More for Your Thing” – More what? And what is my thing? What are you talking about?
“Open Happiness” – How can I open happiness? And can I close it once it’s open?
“Impossible is Nothing” – Nothing is impossible, I can understand, but the reverse? That’s impossible.
“Be Your Way” – How can I NOT be my way? It’s MY way.
“Every Little Helps” – Every little what? It’s certainly not helping me, now, so how about a little less nonsense? That would help, greatly.
“The Future of Awesome” – No, the future IS awesome. And it’s not even that.
“Enjoy Better” – Don’t you mean enjoy BUTTER?
“Think Different” – Actually, it’s Think Different-ly. A verb must be modified by an adverb; think is a verb; different is an adjective, so it can’t. . .Oh never mind!
Well, you get my point. Words can either be conduits of succinct communication or weapons of inanity. It all depends on who’s slinging them. For my part, I will continue to strive to make the most of the ones handed down to me over generations.
As for the rest of the world: Badda Book! Badda Boom!