I Totally Hate These Words

1. Totally

Devoid of purpose. It is a linguistic tool, conceived for the purpose of complementing a verb, stipulating a condition of completeness. So it’s a synonym of “completely.” It’s further redundant with a number of others, depending on context. Like “unerringly,” “overwhelmingly,” “impressively” and “notably.”

Unlike those, however, the t-word is prone to abuse. Over half the time it is used, the verb it is complementing is “respect”; and in those instances, it is used to impress a talkative young lady, by a cynical and exploitative young man, for the purpose of getting in her pants. It is, to coin a phrase, used to express a condition of super-duper-duper-empathy.

Talkative young women aren’t as impressed with empathy as most young guys think, so for the most part this isn’t even effective. It’s just an insult for someone’s intelligence, and nothing else.

2. Utilize

I’ve been paying attention to situations in which this works, and the verb “use” would be unsuitable. So far, all I’ve seen is two things from my professional existence: 1) The ratio of available processor cycles on a server, or other network resource, that are occupied with fulfilling a task; and 2) the application of a resource to a given project, out of all the other projects that person is also working.

Both of those apply to the noun utilization and neither of them apply to the verb “utilize.” (You know, for that matter, the noun “usage” could be considered as a substitute for “utilization,” although personally I think it’s better to use the longer word in that case.) To use the verb “utilize” where “use” would be a better fit — which, from my observations, is always the case — is a crime against mankind and a crime against the English language. May God have mercy on your soul.

3. Basically

It would be a waste of space if it did nothing to alter the meaning. The evil and insidious thing of it is, it does alter the meaning. Which means it’s inherently dishonest. It means the speaker is lending his or her name to a statement which doesn’t make enough sense for them to express without that loophole word. Someone says “George Bush, he’s basically a war criminal” — what that means is, if you asked them to sign on (even just verbally) to the statement “George Bush is a war criminal” they don’t have the brass balls to do it. It’s used as a garnish for unreasonable statements, to make them look reasonable enough that people can agree on it, when they know damn well they shouldn’t. And that goes for everything with the word “basically” in it. This building basically should be condemned. My last husband was basically abusive. Terrorism is basically less of a danger than global warming.

4. (Mental) Abuse

Somewhere around two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through the twentieth century, we got the idea that neglect was the same as abuse; in other words, through benign intent, you could inflict mental abuse on someone (typically, a woman) just by not paying attention to something. Miss a birthday or anniversary, and that’s mental abuse. And then we socially ostracized anyone who recognized a differential between mental abuse and physical abuse. One’s just as bad as the other, we were told, and expected to echo back.

Well, it’s bullshit. Forgetting your wife’s favorite flower or brand of coffee creamer is entirely different from yelling at her about her parking tickets, and yelling at her about her parking tickets is entirely different from smacking her in the face with your fist. These are not all the same things. And the word “abuse” has been…uh…abused, up to and beyond the point where it has lost all, or close to all, meaning. If we as a society had a good idea of what abuse is supposed to mean, we sure as hell don’t have that understanding anymore.

5. LOL

LOL is supposed to stand for “Laughing Out Loud,” and it is always a lie. People do not laugh out loud when they type in the acronym LOL. LOL ought to be replaced by something like BOV, for Brain On Vacation, because going by experience that’s what is usually going on there.

6. Patriarchal


7. Steretype/Stereotypical

Double-Gag. I grew up in a college town; heard more than my share of this rot.

8. Godess/Lilith/Earth-Mother

When you hear these, there’s a goth chick nearby, but you could probably tell that already from the incense, the henna, the whining about stereotypes and abuse.

9. Alternative

Because “pot-smoking long-haired flea-bitten, smell like Cheetos & ass” is too long.

I think you totally, basically, get the idea, LOL. Now don’t utilize these words anymore. It makes me feel abused.