International Writers Magazine: Language - From Our Archives
Sucks -I'm Fine but you're Screwed
way we speak drives me crazy! Well, it doesnt really
drive me anywhere, nor causes me to have a psychotic
break, but it can be intensely frustrating.
Our use of language
is so flippant and unconscious that we rarely recognize the stinking
sewage it can create in our immediate surroundings and the culture in
which we live. Without understanding or realizing the toxicity
of the words we are perpetuating we continue butchering the English
language with random disregard for the consequences. English is
already limited in its capacity to adequately describe much of our experience,
so why are we boxing it up into minimalist jargon and down-sizing its
potential for understandable discourse? To put it bluntly, when
did sucking become bad?
Sucking, a most pleasurable experience, now connotes that something
or someone is not good; that they or it, is not only bad, but really
awful. That movie sucked or You suck are
lamely thrown around to encapsulate an entire event or individual and
have nothing to do with the pleasurable sensations of sucking.
Co-mingling with this inane colloquialism is the phrase Im
screwed. or Screw you. To screw, in this context,
refers to sexual intercourse, again a most pleasant and joyful experience
that now insinuates being helpless, taken advantage of or without recourse,
as in I really screwed up. or They screwed me over.
It goes without any prerequisites that exclaiming bad to
mean good makes as much sense as saying cool
equals hot, fat is great, or sweet
Moving towards the basement of horrific vocabulary is shut up,
which should be banned from use when used to convey This cant
be true! or Youre kidding? People who
use shut up in that context should just shut up!
The proverbial Boy! or Man! when speaking of
something astounding, exciting or unbelievable, such as: Man that
was close! Man, you are amazing! Oh boy, lets go!
is another constant source of verbal annoyance. Why dont
people say, Oh, girl! or Woman, that was awesome!?
Along these same illogical lines, when did both genders become guys?
It appears to be used completely out of context and without regard to
those who are being addressed. Hi guys; what would you like
for dinner? the waitress asks a table of men, women and children.
What did you guys do today? a father asks his daughter.
Have you ever heard someone say, Take it like a woman! Quit
acting like a boy. or Be a woman!? When did
being female become a bad thing? What is so threatening about
women that men (and women) will use such language in a derogatory manner
when they want boys or men to behave differently or to put them down?
And everyone knows the World Series is anything but. A competition
that excludes ninety-five percent of the global population and includes
only American and a few Canadian teams is not The World.
American football is not football; it is hand and foot ball.
Football is what Americans and English call soccer and consists of a
REAL world series (World Cup) with countries from almost every nation
on the planet.
There are some words that should just be banned, period. Fine
for instance, as in Im fine. The definition
of fine is finished; perfected; superior in quality; better than
average. When we greet one another and are asked, How
are you? do we really intend to say I am finished
I am perfected or I am superior in quality; how are
you? Some psychotherapist friends tell me that FINE
should stand for Freaked, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional,
but what do they know seeing that psycho is short for psychotic
and therapist comes from therapeutes, which means attendant
or servant; thus my friends are nothing but psychotic servants.
No word is used more inanely or often in English than the word love.
We use it for everything - I love this movie; I love that song; I love
you; I love me; I love baseball; I love Fred; I love Julia; I love food;
I love God; I love my dog. It is used so casually and with such
consistent disregard for its complexities that it can end up meaning
nothing more than an over-cooked adjective that has loved itself to
You may beg to differ with these observations about our idiosyncratic
attempts to communicate; though I am still waiting to see someone actually
get on their knees and plead or beg to disagree with something I have
said. The old adage of sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words can never hurt me, must have originated with people
who didnt have to listen to someone saying, this sucks
a thousand times a day or been told screw you and never
been able to actually do so with the person who said it.
Constans April 2008
constans at gogabriel.com
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