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Trendy phrases come and go. It’s the cycle of culture. Sometimes the words are fun and they even get a new life years later, like “rad” or “righteous.” Other times, there are words and phrases that permeate our culture, and they are so mindblowingly stupid and unnecessary that certain cultural commentators (yes, that’s what I think of myself as) should feel bound to call for their death. Here are a few that have come to prominence recently–they need to be taken behind the house and thrown in the woodchipper, so to speak.
1. “I can’t.”
Yes, you can, you’re just saying you can’t because it sounds dramatic. Also you “can’t” what, exactly? Deal with this situation? Look away? Operate your body the way it’s supposed to? Here’s how I plan to combat this phrase. Any time I hear or read it, I’m going to assume that whatever it is you’re choosing to unnecessarily react hyperbolically to has rendered you incontinent. That’s right, the phrase “I can’t” now means “I can’t control my bowels.” If Brad and Angelina divorce, Outkast decides to record a new album, or David Yurman comes out with an ice cream inspired collection and you now suddenly “can’t,” I’m assuming you just shit yourself and are now sitting in a pile of your own filth due to your inability to move and clean yourself up, because this news is so revolutionary.
Is it an abbreviation of crazy? Just like with everything else that’s been popularized by Kanye West, I think so, but I can’t be sure. Either way, why? Why? Is “zee” such a burden of a syllable that it has to be cut? Is there some sort of rogue conspiracy to remove the letter “Z” from the alphabet, with the first phase of the dastardly plan being to remove the use of its phonetic pronunciation in unnecessary abbreviations?
3. “This is everything.”
Nope. This is probably nothing. A photo collection of puppies being saved after a hurricane–cute? Yes. Touching? Absolutely. Everything? Definitely not. You’re diluting the importance of a word when its definition is LITERALLY everything. If you spend a couple decades married to a someone and he or she has become the center of your life and you can’t imagine life without them, then you have my permission to refer to that person as your “everything.” On the other hand, a restaurant where the wait staff dresses up as movie characters and there are dancing contests? “This is everything.” Fuck off. That’s a decent, but overpriced Tuesday night. It’s also “Pulp Fiction.”
But it’s not fucking everything.
I’m not sure what to blame for this, but I’m almost positive it’s “Role Models.” I had never heard the word “totes” used in any conversation until hearing “totes magotes,” which was hilarious for, like, a month before we collectively pounded it into the ground. I assumed it would go the way of so many other movie quotes, but then I started to hear it with the “magotes” dropped. It was really starting to drive me crazy. I remember when I first decided to wage war on “totes.” It was the moment that Turtle uttered it unironically in an episode of “Entourage,” and it was game over after that. Totes is a stupid fucking abbreviation for an already played out Valley Girl colloquialism (totally). If you want to say yes, say yes. If you want to say for sure, say for sure. If you want to say totes, check a full 360 degrees to make sure I’m not there, because I’d prefer to avoid aggravated assault charges if at all possible.
5. Douche[fill in the blank]
I won’t lie, I’ve been extremely guilty of this particular linguistic twist. It all, of course, started with “douchebag,” but then people began to realize that simply by changing the noun following the “douche,” you could appear hilarious and clever for very little effort. We started to see “douchelord” and “douchenozzle” pop up, and I’ll admit I contributed to the problem. I called people “doucherocket,” “douchecunt,” “douchebucket,” and “douchebottle.” It started to get out of hand, and then I saw how much the trend had been proliferated online. It made me start to examine myself, and I decided to give up the douchegame.