Friday, June 11, 2004

word moratorium

This is a call for an official moratorium on the word "irreverent," so often used to describe the prose of allegedly humourous columnists. Most often, the columns it describes are not particularly disrespectful, unless this disrespect is directed toward the general standards of prose writing. As in: this column is filled with slang and cliches and silly posturing because it's meant to be filled with slang and cliches and silly posturing, so don't think there's been some ghastly slipup at the copy desk. Irreverent has gone the way of ironic, I'm afraid. Now it means nothing, unless it means "to be read with an exaggerated, sarcastic lilt." Actually, that's not entirely true. What irreverent really means, in this context, is that whatever garbage is to follow was meant to make you laugh but won't. Otherwise they'd just call it funny.

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