In today's Independent, Robert Fisk has a good column on the ever-stranger state of Middle East politics. But he adds a New Year's appeal: Let there be an end to all these clichés:
Linguistic resolutions for 2014: an end to clichés, to invented words and to verbal lies.
Please may we have no more guns that “fall silent”, not a single politician “on the campaign trail”, no more “deadly” ambushes/riots/wars, diseases and – please – no more “iconic” paintings or personalities. And no more “eponymous” events. Nor “dystopian” narratives. I fear I’ve committed a few of these sins in my past (I distinctly remember “iconic”). But no excuse.
Let me never have to read again of “negativity” or “positivity” or – most ghastly of all – “suicidality”. A close second: “gendering”. Let us have done with politicians, families and villages which have to “come to terms” with grief, who “seek closure” or need to “move on” (the latter an officially declared – and understandable – desire of the Labour Party over Iraq).
Please, less “shuttle” diplomacy”, fewer “tit-for-tat” killings and no more cities “under lockdown”. And no more bloody “space”: editors should ban all references to “theatrical space”, “psychological space” and “public space”.
The same goes for television listings: let there be an end to “festive” events/programmes/editions/spirits/giggles (I kid thee not)/games/songs/food.
Please don’t talk about “issues” when you mean “problems”. And if there are any real issues, don’t “prioritise” them. Suffocate any “spokesperson” who, after hours of airport delays, announces that he apologises “if anyone has been inconvenienced”.
And let me croak if I ever have to read again that oldest of clunkers which appeared in last week’s Irish Times, which announced the engagement of a regional sports star: “Clare captain pops the question”. Aaaaaaaaaagh, indeed.
I second the Master's motion.