From “The Chronicles Of I Research These Things So You Don’t Have To…”
Yes, it’s another tale of word curmudgeon detectiveology to help answer the unanswerably nagging question: “What the hell happened?”
In this episode: Super Adverb!
Yes, it’s possible that you’ve turned a deaf ear to “awesome,” “amazeballs” and “awesomesauce,” but your camel’s back has broken beneath the straw of ultra-awesomeness in the attack of the adverb, “super.”
If you’ve wondered how this all happened, I believe I may have discovered the culprit in the great super avalanche (superlanch?) of the 21st century. Ready?
Tinder Did It!
The super-ubiquitous dating app first introduced the phrase “swipe left” as an all-purpose metaphor for dismissing someone as unsuitable.
And then, Tinder brought us the ridiculousness of supersizing that which does not require it.
The great day of the super-stupidsizing was September 9, 2015.
That is the day that Tinder introduced a new button designed to help one express, to an extreme degree, their attraction to a prospective bedfellow, er, hookup, er, partner (there we go!) by clicking on a new button that expresses more than mere “like.”
The new button of 2015 was “Super Like.”
And who doesn’t want to be Super Liked?
Moreover, Tinder assures us that by using this button, “The person you Super Liked will take notice.”
(This button is not merely a thumbs-up or a double thumbs-up or an amazeballs emoji, but a blue star which looks vaguely like a puckered blue orifice—and who doesn’t super like that?)
With apologies to the geniuses who have made Tinder so super successful that it surpasses Netflix in terms of subscriber dollars spent: we must take notice that being super-liked is super-silly.
Is merely liking something or someone no longer sufficient? Why is adding one’s own words too much? Is it that it requires a) thought and b) words?
Clearly, there is an excessive burden presented by the time that original thought robs from one who is attempting to thumb-like as many prospective bed buddies as possible in one session of swipe-and-tap date shopping by phone in the worst possible evolution of mail-order assignation (a new term I’ve just invented, what with mail-order bride-ness now being antiquated and beyond sexist and super-laughable, as how does one attach a bride or a groom to an email?).
And yes, faithful reader, you will notice that some of the sentences herein are super-complex.
They’re violating your faithful scribe’s borrowed dictum from David Ogilvy, to wit: thou shalt not write any sentence longer than 13 words.
But this verbal violation seems super necessary at this super moment in history where our language is being super bogged down by the superlative double whammy of ambiguous, confusing, style-abhorrent, non-agreeing if gender-neutral pronouns and the invasion of super ridiculous, tech-bred speakiness into the vernacular.
Majorly un-cool, dudes and dudettes.
What can be done?
How about we super-investigate superalternatives to super-izing everything?
Rush to the rescue station!
Break the glass on the emergency super-thesaurus case and thumb over to words like “superbly,” “superlatively,” and “superly” (the latter being super-awful sounding but at least a legitimate word).
Or, better yet, forget the thesaurus entirely.
Instead, when someone uses “super” in a capacity that you might deem ill-advised, turn it back on them.
“Did you just say your steak is super amazing?
“Does that mean the great surprise and astonishment of mere amazement is insufficient to describe the power of that char-broiled beef upon your palate?
“How much more transported beyond simple astonishment are you?
“Will your spirit be leaving your body here at the table, requiring the bus boy to clear away your limp and lifeless carcass?
“Or will your head simply fly from your neck, which will then shower us all in bloody amazeballs?
“Or, is it simple enough that we should just go find you an adult diaper?
How super amazing is it going to get and do I need a plastic sheet as if I were in the front row at a performance by that comedian who uses a giant mallet to smash watermelons?
"Explain thyself, dear friend.”
OK. Perhaps that is excessive.
Here’s another idea: let’s place a moratorium on adverbs. They’re often the majorly weakest part of verbal expression.
Writing and speaking free from adverbs is potent.
And maybe the example can leach into the culture.
Perhaps the thoughtless offenders of superdom will notice they sound out of step.
They’ll reevaluate the awesomeness of their word choices.
But I super doubt it.
Until the superstorm passes, we will have to suffer the foolishness.
Super swipe left.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.