Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

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Awesome No More

The word "awesome" is over-used. It's lteral meaning is that which inspires awe - and clearly it is not used to mean such. In fact, anymore, awesome just means "anything better than mediocre". It joins the pantheon of words like, "cool" "Bitchin" "rad" "boss" "wicked" - words which we use to just spice things up in an informal and colorful way.

But awesome has jumped it's shark, I think. The phrase "it's made of awesome" has now permeated the internet like poor sportmanship permeates Boston. I myself have, when asked about the reason for some particular course of action have said, "Because....awesome." The word itself is its own explanation - it is liked "dude" or "fuck" (or if you're military, "huah") in that its context means far more than its definition. This I don't object to, such utilitarian words are an important part of informal speech. Banter amongst the lads would be considerably less colorful if we were prevented from using all-purpose words. But, for my part, at least, I think "awesome" has now become over-used.

I have been mulling over what might replace it. I've considered; magic, splendid, punk-rock, sexy, righteous, supercalifragilisticexpaliodocious, and several others. But nothing leaps out as quite right. The word has to be fairly short, short enough to use as interjection, but it also has to have some descriptive quality. Best also if it is not profane, since it's used in so many settings, not all of which are appropriate for cursing. Neither can it be too specific, however, since it needs to suit many applications. And of course, it has to imply something positive. Other words that have been used in a simlar manner, but never really caught on; dope, bad, wicked, gnarly, boss, groovy. pimp, metal, sweet, tight, sick, kickass, chill.

Interestingly, science-fiction authors, who so often write stories in the future, have attempted to replicate this philological drift - witness "shiny" in the Firefly-verse, or "real horrorshow" in Anthony Burgess' 'A Clockwork Orange',Frank Miller's 'Dark Knight Returns' used "chegs' to the same effect. There are many oher examples, and if you can think of any, do share. Personally, I've also resolved to stop saying, "No worries" which used to be obscure, but has become very common. I'm determined to return to the classic, and much classier, "Not to worry." Sometimes I'll even throw in a "Nil desperandum".

But most importantly - what can we use to be the new awesome? It was easier in the Army, where "huah" stood for pretty much anything and everything. I used to infuriate fellow soldiers by saying, "Huah is like 'smurfy', only military." And before you suggest it, no, I don't believe "smurfy" is an adequate replacement.

I look forward to your advice, collective wisdom of the internet!

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