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Monday, March 23, 2009

Two Words Good, One Word Bad

I'm taking it upon myself to declare the age of the portmanteau officially over.

I realized that this needed to be done, however preemptively, when I came across the word "momshell" in the course of my daily reading.

After I finished gouging my eyes out and using a crude memory-eraser, I knew that drastic action had to be taken against this intellectually lazy and unsatisfying cultural trend. Thus the unilateral declaration has -- indeed, must -- come to an ignominious end.

Aside: I think that one of the reasons why I'm so tired of this trend is that I may have helped usher it in. The year was 2000, and I was getting ready to move to New York. I had no car, so I knew that I would be required to tote my belongings to and from work. I purchased a bag. I dubbed it "TheMurse." This was before that term existed. Debate that fact if you will, but you know you never heard it before then.

Sure, we all chuckled when the term "Bennifer" came to national attention. "It's cute," thought we as a nation, "because it takes the names of a couple and links them together, just as their decision to become a couple has linked them together. I get jokes!" But then, like every initially-pleasing cultural trend, it snowballed out of control. TomKat. Brangelina. Man-pris. Manny. Bromance.

Bromance, I think, is the one that finally snapped the camel's neck for me. OK, it was the name of that lame-ass MTV show with Brody Jenner. That was OK, though, since no one with an ounce of self-respect watches MTV anymore (except for The Hills, I guess, though I suspect me admitting that I watch The Hills pretty much shows I have no self-respect). But with the relentlessly unfunny marketing push for I Love You, Man, the term bromance, along with any lingering humor attached to the portmanteau, has officially been herewith banished from the realms of my mind.

Another aside -- I like Paul Rudd. I like Jason Segal. I like the whole Apatow crew. Have for years. But since when do guys need lessons on how to be friends? Thank you, Los Angeles Times, for pointing the correct path! Thank you, Judd Apatow, for getting all these lonely guys together! And thank you again, Los Angeles Times, for acting as an advertising mouthpiece for such a plucky underdog of a film!

Consider, if you will, a return to an intellectually vigorous usage system of the English Language. Now, I don't consider myself some sort of modern-day George Orwell, but I would have to agree strenuously with his opening assertion that, and I paraphrase, the English language is in a bad way. Split infinitives. Clunky mixed metaphors. Sentence fragments. Made up words, many of which ignore any convention for such words (see "bro-medy." Huh?).

Or just be clever, and stop beating terms that have the potential to be funny in the short run to death by over-usage. Bromance might have been funny the first hundred times, but after a three-week marketing push, only yokels without TVs are going to find that funny, and that only when they make their biannual trip to the city for chewing tobacco and chicken feed. And what are the chances that that trip will coincide with the opening weekend of I Love You, Man? Or the premiere of The Hottest Mom In America. Not too likely, I'm guessing.

1 comment:

leslie.pearlman said...

I like making word-mash-ups, like when something is funny and gross...it's hilarigross. But your point is well taken.