You’d think that during the pandemic, people might be at home brushing up on their grammar; but of course you’d think wrongly. I never seem to run out of phrases that I detest, and, in this latest installment, all of them come from HuffPost, a reliable source of bad writing by eager but unlettered and underpaid youths just out of college. (You don’t get “lettered” in college any more.)
Read and weep. (No need to tell me that you have no problem with these; the point is that I do.) And feel free to add your own peeves in the comments.
If you must see the article, click on the screenshot, though the headlines in the click-through post aren’t always the same as on these front-page teasers.
1.) “Vibe”. I have no problem with “good vibes” or “bad vibes” or “vibes” used as an abbreviation for “vibraphone”. I do have a problem with its use this way:
Note: it’s not a “good vibe” or a “bad vibe” or any kind of “(adjective) vibe”.
Here we have the latest with-it noun meaning, I think, “a created atmosphere or emotion”, similar to the odious use of the word “mood” without any adjectives. In this case, they don’t even tell you what kind of “vibe” you’re supposed to feel when Kris Jenner fumbles when trying to use Instagram. In fact, the word is completely superfluous in the headline above; they could have said, “Kris Jenner attempts and fails to livestream Kim Kardashian.” But then, of course, the headline wouldn’t look cool and edgy.
2.) “AF”. The first time I saw this, I didn’t realize that it means “as fuck”, for example, “I’m mad AF at Trump.” It’s a way to use obscene words without having to write them out. And, like “vibe”, it’s lazy and annoying. Here’s one example:
Tell me, friends: what, exactly, is added to his headline by using “AF”? Why not just say “really relaxing”? Because of course (see below). You look au courant when you use those two letters—but only to morons, like those people who staff HuffPost. I see that I’ve excoriated the use of “AF” in a previous post, and that makes me angry AF at myself.
3.) “Journal” as a verb. This word, which is short for “keeping (or writing in) a journal” is part of the noxious trend in which nouns become verbs, like saying “gift” for “giving a present” or “medal” for “winning an Olympic medal.” To wit:
What’s next with this trend? “Stephen King is booking”? “It’s about time to start Christmas carding”? “I have to go to the grocery store, so I better do some listing”? The mind boggles.
4. “Because of course.” I’ve already had my Hour of Detestation with the phrase “Because X”, which is gaining in “with-it” journalism. (The example I used before, from HuffPost, of course, was the headline “Which airline to fly based on the free snacks, because free snacks.”)
The possibilities are endless for “X”. But this new variant is even more obnoxious. In fact, when used as intended, all it says is “read what was written before.” In the following, the “because of course” means “Meghan Markle always inspires the perfect look.” Well, for one thing she doesn’t, and for another the wording gives me a pain in my lower mesentery. Finally, on what grounds is Megan Markle even an “influencer”? People who read articles like this need a life!