Monday, January 4, 2010

The Globe's Word gets grossed out

Each Sunday, Jan Freeman offers her thoughts on the English language in the Globe's Ideas section. I should read it more. This week's "The Word" column is entitled "Stop Saying That." In it, Freeman bemoans the rise of expressions involving vomit and self mutilation.

For every slacker who’s content with chewing off his foot, there’s a striver piling on the dreadful details: ”I’d rather drill my eyeball with a power tool.” ”Stick my hand in a meat grinder.” ”Pull out my fingernails with pliers.” If the print media catch the hyperbole virus, will the real world’s troubles seem shrunken in comparison.

And yes, since you ask, I would also like 2010 to be a farewell year for ”I threw up a little in my mouth.” But on that score--unlike the eye-gouging fad--I’m optimistic. The expression remains rare in print, and by 2006 one magazine had labeled it ”so 2005.” Last week it got a mumbled half-mention on ”Scrubs,” but with luck, that will be too little, too late.

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