An “Awesome” Posting

This Sunday, 1/25, I’ll be doing a reading and signing for Zendoscopy at the premier bookstore in Pasadena, Vroman’s (695 E. Colorado Blvd.). If you can come, please do. I’d love to see you there. Time: 4 PM.

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I’m always interested (and generally appalled) by the use of certain words that have become trendy. I’ve written here before about this, taking to task such words as “basically” and “awesome”. The latest word that’s driving me nuts is “incredible”. It seems that everything, no matter how expected, mundane, or trivial, is getting described these days as “incredible”. To wit:

  • This bagel with cream cheese is incredible! Uh huh.
  • Your new T-shirt is incredible! Yes, it does slip on over your head.
  • I saw The Interview last night. It was incredible! Really?

Since when has everything become so unbelievable? Since when has it become so easy to inspire such a level of awe over the routine? Or, more likely, since when has paucity of language skills and general laziness been so openly displayed? I guess I don’t know what to say. I guess it’s just incredible.

In a recent posting about the terrible slaughter by terrorists in Paris, I ended with the statement that, “Nous sommes tous Charlie.” In some respects, I regret doing this because, just as with “incredible”, Je suis and nous sommes Charlie have become overused to the point of abuse as well as parodied, all of it to the point of meaninglessness.

In the sense that I used it, I meant that all of us were attacked, not just the satirical magazine and its staff. But those always eager to misinterpret things have come out ranting about how despicable Charlie Hebdo, the magazine is, and criticizing those who used the phrase, obviously in its more expansive sense. Idiots abound in this world, and those too stupid to understand that the attack was one on all freedom of expression, a terrorist act by those who would impose ignorant, religiously based tyranny upon us all It was, after all, Voltaire who in the 1700s said that he might disagree with what is said but not with the right to say it. Apparently, there are many in the world who still have not accepted this approach.

And although they are not committing atrocities, there are many in our own country who would censor what may be said, who seek to have books removed from libraries that they deem offensive, who would dictate how we all should live. Lest you doubt this, simply listen to Republicans these days, especially those on the far right who, in misunderstanding the foundations of the country, insist that it was founded as a Christian nation and who would rip the First Amendment to shreds given the chance.

There’s trouble in River City, my friends. If saner heads don’t speak up, don’t stand up and vote, we’ll get what we (don’t?) deserve. And if that happens, I can assure you it won’t be good. It will be real, and it won’t be “incredible” when your front door gets bashed in. But, now that I think about it, it will be “awesome”.

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