html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I also hate "Let's not go there". I would probably like to go there, or at least hear why not.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I also hate "Let's not go there". I would probably like to go there, or at least hear why not.

I hate clich├ęs because people use them as a shortcut, but they are often an imprecise shortcut and then I never got to hear what the real thought would have been. It might have been fuzzy, but I'm sure it would have been more interesting. The one I hate right now is that stupid "the Perfect __________".

If what you mean to say is that a series of actions and coincidences came together to amplify each other and cause a disproportionate effect, that would be interesting. I would like to hear what those are. But I do not understand them just because you eluded to them by mentioning a movie title. Please actually tell me the things you mean.

My sister saw The Perfect Storm. She described it as two hours of sheets of water and people shouting SHUT THE DOOR!!!!. Then I understood the movie perfectly and I never bothered to see it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book is an interesting read. It's interesting from a technical perspective, because the author does not know the ending of his primary story, and it really doesn't work. It's all buildup, and then it peters out in an unsatisfying way. Much more interesting is some of the technical fishing stuff, and trying to figure out how all the swordfish folks are so broke when they make so much money.

Very compelling, however, are the stories of the other ships where there are survivors: the fish inspector on a foreign trawler called up to translate with the Coast Guard, and it turns out the message is something like "We have no hope;" The folks on the sailboats who tape passports to their bodies so they can be identified; the rescue crews.

A4, who will pretty much read any crap in front of me.

12:46 PM  
Blogger billo said...

I wonder why there's a "war against cliches" and set (stock) phrases? Same goes with sayings and proverbs. Is it, perhaps, that 'authenticity' or 'individuality' demand some sort of supposed spontaneous response or is it because less importance is now given to other people's experiences and the past?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Haven't read the book. But if there are long technical sections, I'll request it from the library.

I trust you've read The Outlaw Sea, which is very good.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting ready to travel, so I'll see if I can find a copy of The Outlaw Sea. I've read excerpts about Southeast Asian pirates in The Atlantic a few years back. Thanks for the tip.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

One annoying but thankfully short-lived cliches was "The Mother of All _____." For instance, instead of The Perfect Storm, you could have The Mother of All Storms.

Unlike most cliches, the origin of this one can be precisely determined, from one of the generals in the first Gulf War (1991) who referred to The Mother of All Bombardments (or Bombings) in a press conference.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Fake Name said...

The one I hate the most is, "You have too much time on your hands," because it's true!

5:44 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

I could live with the perfect storm if there weren't so damn many of them. Freaking grade inflation.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Nathan Zook said...

Ahh, certainty.

The "general" in question was Mr. Hussein. He promised the US the "Mother of all Battles".

He didn't impress us (military) very much, but the kids had a blast with the phrase, because given its original context, it was automatically ironic.

I at least never tired of hearing it, because its every use was a reminder of how neatly we took the air out of the Mother of all Bombasts.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

I too hate the Perfect _______, although I like the way you wrote it so that I can fill in any noun I like at the end. I will now do this mentally whenever anybody uses the dread phrase in my presence:

The Perfect Shave
The Perfect Beer
The Perfect View
The Perfect Blow Job

Billo, I think there is a war against cliches because cliches are so often used to replace actual thinking and consideration. However, judging from most conversations I hear, the war against cliches enlists precious few soldiers.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

I do believe "the perfect X" is a snowclone. At least, the way you mean it, it is. (Someone could call a strawberry "the perfect strawberry" and actually be referring to its lovely red color, strawberry shape, and sweet taste--no evoking of that movie/book intended.)

3:04 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Of course "the war against ..."
is also a cliche

7:26 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Nick, if your list is in chronological order that sounds like the (near) perfect date!

of course, it's become something of a cliche to say:" replace actual thinking ". A bit like the Monty Python sketch in the Life of Brian: "we're all individuals"!

Without authority or tradition everything is staked on being "original" or "authentic"..just be yourself! (how very convenient for late capitalism!)
[I think it's also related to innovation and spontaneity: read the great online article by Jonathan Jones, 'The Wild Ones'] was meant to be ironical :)

1:15 AM  

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