awfully awesome

Every couple of years a word comes along that gets its grappling hooks into the public lexicon and climbs to the pinnacle of inanity.

For example, the use of the word “amazing” to describe things which are patently not is such a pet peeve that it recently topped the 37th official list of words that should be banned.

Given that the list of “Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness” is compiled by American academics, it’s probably pretty safe to assume Australians are somewhat behind in our abuse of amazing.

Here we seem to be stuck with the very-2007 default of “awesome”.

Shepherding a young high-profile professional on a recent photo shoot, everything was apparently breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly, out-of-this-world fabulous.

The toilets to the left. “Awesome”.

The photographer’s just arrived. “Awesome”.

We reached a conversational zenith when I offered her a cup of coffee. “That would be really awesome”.

True, “awesome” is not as bad as the ’90s fixation with “closure” – a therapy goal initially prescribed for people suffering from profound trauma and violent loss which became the must-have mantra for everything from failed relationships to business deals.

And it’s nowhere near as toe-curling as passionate.

It seems everyone has a Miss World-kind-of-passion these days. Given it’s a word which implies pain and suffering, if not a certain hot-headedness and/or sexual desire, it’s slightly alarming to hear people profess a “real passion for account management” or to be “passionate about service delivery”.

Personally, I prefer my professionals competent, capable and awe-struck as infrequently as possible.


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