Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Societal" -- Yuck!

I hardly ever read Timothy Burke's Easily Distracted even though he's on my blogroll, because I'll often neglect those blogs that don't ping Blogrolling when they update [*clears throat and raises his eyebrows meaningfully to chasten other bloggers guilty of this sin*].

Catching up on old blog reading, then, I discovered that I'm not alone in my hatred for the word "societal" (as opposed to "social"). Stop using it!

Other things that are societally unacceptable:
  • Stop utilizing things. Use them.
  • Don't cease and desist. Either cease or desist.
  • Don't exist in this day and age. Existing either in the day or the age is sufficient.
  • If you are praying, don't ask God to "just" perform one miracle, then immediately ask Him to "just" perform another. If I were a god, multiple requests combined with "just" would lead to lightning bolts.
  • Nothing is "very unique." There cannot be different degrees of unique-ness.
  • "Obviously" needs to be followed by something obvious -- and then you had better be able to justify wasting my time by pointing out the obvious, or obviously I may have to punch you in the face.
  • Literally killing me by using the word "literally" to mean "figuratively" (ah, the "literally" rant. An old favorite...)
  • Don't say something is easy by comparing it to rocket science. Of all the hard things in life I could tackle, rocket science doesn't appear particularly challenging. I mean, it's not like it's theology, learning a foreign language, or teaching a dog not to jump up on the couch -- those things are hard.
  • Don't ask me if I have a "smoking preference," unless you are inquiring about my brand.
  • Until someone manages to improve something without changing it, "new" is already implied in "new and improved."
  • Don't bother telling us that something is "In my opinion" unless you have a habit of otherwise giving the opinions of others.
  • Don't criticize someone for having a "mentality." Only the unconscious have no mentality.
  • "The fact that" had better be followed by a fact, or else the fact that you are trying to pass off your unsupportable opinions as facts will be obvious to everyone with any kind of mentality.
In my opinion, it is a fact that if we make these very unique societal changes, and we just ask God to help us cease and desist and just ask Him to literally utilize the mentalities of people in this day and age to adopt new and improved behaviors, we can do this. I mean, it's not rocket science.


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Obviously, in my opinion, everything you say is absolutely right. Hee.

    Well, except that the "smoking preference" thing doesn't bother me. And, in fact, it's kind of accurate -- after all, "non"-smoking sections usually still have smoke wafting over into them. So the choice is really "smoking" or "only slightly smoking."

    This means nothing to your readers in CA, of course.

  2. Oh, and I especially hate "societal." And actually, I tell students not to use "the fact that" -- it's wordy an awkward. Just state the damn fact.

  3. I am amazed that there are still places in the world with "smoking preferences." "Smoking preferences" around here are a) being inside the building, or b) hanging out in the parking lot.

    Stuff I would add:

    1) The reason why X is because Y. Pick one!
    2) Supposably. This word makes the angels cry.
    3) Revenge is NOT a verb.
    4) Disrespect is NOT a verb.
    5) "This centers around..." Unless there are rules of physics of which I am woefully unaware, this is impossible.

  4. 2) Supposably. This word makes the angels cry.

    Woah, you mean it's not just Joey from Friends who uses that?

  5. A pet peeve of mine is the chestnut "You want fries with that?" In real life, no one says that anymore. Americans have been ordering their fry-inclusive fast-food meals by number for more than 20 years! If we're going to perpetuate a cliche that's intended to be synonymous with "dead-end job," can we at least concoct one that adequately represents the early 21st century?

  6. Hear! Hear! It's high time that we establish the American equivalent of the Académie française! We simply must lock down this American-English language of ours before it gets completely out of control! ;-)

  7. Oh no, I'm surrounded by PRESCRIPTIVISTS! *shudder*

  8. Dr. V. -- supposably has become a pandemic. Much like "different than" has. I hate television, I really do.

    Frank -- Boo!

    Another thing I forgot to add to the rant. What happened to the subjunctive mood? Where has it gone?

  9. So supposedly is supposedly a bad word. All I've got to say to those angels is, carry on like that and I'll give you reason to howl. (Shesh, think we were using irregardless in a sentence.)