Skip to main content

Cliches

I would love to say that I don't use cliches, but I'm sure that a quick perusal of old posts would reveal me a liar. The everyday cliches don't bother me--partially because there is a slight sense of irony about it. The ones that put my teeth on edge are business ones and now I am in the corporate world. My company has two that seem to be required--"in the weeds" and "drill down" as in, "I don't think we need to get in the weeds of that program. You'll only need it once in a while," and "I look up the client and then I can drill down to get account details." I've even heard the bizarre combination of "get down in the weeds and drill in." ??? Drill into the weeds?
[Side note: On the summer mini-series "The Starter Wife" which I caught sporadically, mainly for the divine Judy Davis, Debra Messing's character is speaking with her lover and she worries about the speed of their relationship by saying, "What if it seems like we're reading the same page but one of us reads faster and is ready to turn the page and the other isn't?" Her lover says, "What if I'm dyslexic?" She says, "Are you dyslexic." He says, "No, I just wanted to torture the metaphor some more."]
I've always hated "on the same page." Hate it, hate it, hate it. I can agree with you, follow you, understand you, etc., but we are NOT on the same page. I once made a list of alternatives--clicking the same link, on the same URL, vibrating at the same frequency, anything. I think it's the follow along mentality of it that bothers me--the boss says it, so everyone else follows. It's also the overuse of one or two phrases. I may use cliches but I don't use the same cliches all the time. I worked for a woman who used to drive me mad by never starting a project until she "had her ducks in a row." Both the use of the phrase and the procrastination it entailed.

One that I keep hearing and it's use is expanding (no puns intended) is "footprint," as in, "What kind of footprint is GM leaving on the rain forest." That is the way I first heard it. I've since heard it to describe both tangible objects, "Those new flat screen monitors have a really small footprint on the desk," and intangible objects, "I don't like how much of a footprint Adobe programs leave when they're running." ???
I understand the first usage--as in an imprint left behind, like a footprint. I don't quite get the same image from an object sitting there--existing there. In my days in retail merchandising that would have been what we called "real estate," as in "Those little objects take up a lot of real estate with not much return." In other words, to push the metaphor, they don't pay enough rent for the space.
So, why do we use cliche's--to have a common language? A verbal shorthand? Laziness? or precision?

Comments

musing said…
I hate clichés, too!

If I use them it's because of laziness. I'm either too rushed or too tired to think of something more original.

Popular posts from this blog

Driving in Boston

Inching along in a log jam of traffic yesterday on the Mass Pike I watched an Audi a few cars in front of me weave in and out of traffic determined to find the lane that was "moving" and yet for the whole half an hour that we sat there he ended up still only a few cars ahead of me. Sure there were times his lane pulled ahead, but then mine would catch up and he would switch back. The only thing he accomplished was to make the line that much slower. There was a great article that a friend sent me years ago on the physics of traffic and it has been determined that weaving in and out of tight traffic will really gain you nothing and in fact cause the very blockages that you believe you are defying. (Sidenote--an unfortunately side effect of so much of interest on the internet is that it is impossible to store all of the articles that interest you over the years in the vague belief that you will someday want to reference them to others) The article also pointed out that if all d…

The end of Cloud Atlas

Feel I must write this--promised it to myself, can I finish before midnight (when I said I would go to bed at 11)?

Where was I?

Oh, yes, section 5, where it gets interesting--because it's the future, at least 25 years, hopefully more. I say hopefully, because I don't want to be living in this future. The section is called "An Orison of Sonmi-451." An Orison (I had to look it up, proving I don't remember my Shakespeare) is a prayer, but in this future world where language has taken as many turns as in Orwell's 1984, it is more a confession or final statement. Sonmi-451 is a clone (as the name might suggest). The section is not entirely original. It owes much to Brave New World and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (made into the film Bladerunner). I find it interesting that 40 or so years ago--when Dick wrote his book he believed that future slaves would be Androids, replicants. Now we are much more likely to presume they will be clones,…

Adapting a book--The Prestige

I was completely blown away by the movie of The Prestige, and I thought then about reading the novel, but it seemed too soon. So I carried the author's name around with me for over a year (Christopher Priest) and then, finally remembered to buy it through an odd sequence of events. We watched The Painted Veil based on the novel by Maugham starring Edward Norton, and while I decided I didn't want to read The Painted Veil because of it's differences from the film (which was more romantic and tragic) it reminded me that I had wanted to read Fight Club (the movie version of which starred Edward Norton) and that reminded me that I had wanted to read The Prestige (which did not star Edward Norton, but was up against The Illusionist which did). Whew...so it's all Edward Norton's fault.

The Prestige is a very good novel, and yet, the movie differs from it considerably. And I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means. The central premise is the same, AND HER…