Monday, 30 October 2017

Before I Forget

I've remembered what the new usage is that makes me shudder more than the now fortunately almost vanished cliché "pig in lipstick".

The new verbal tic that I have a neurotic allergy to is the insertion of the word "ahem" into sentences where it doesn't need to be (does the word "ahem"ever need to be written down actually? Should it ever be given a place in prose on the page?)

Here is an example of what I mean, (including a pretty funny anecdote about Princess Margaret, to sugar the pill):



Oh blast, what am I thinking about? That is not it - but I won't remove it, because it is a good story. This is the piece I meant to insert there:


Admittedly, it is from an article written by James Delingpole, about whom I'm not mad, despite his being very conservative, as I imagine I am, (although in that regard I have been disturbed lately by the dawning realisation that I could never bring myself to even vaguely imagine voting for Jacob Rees-Mogg - but I tell myself that that has nothing to do with political alignment and results entirely from the fact that, to my eye at least, Mogg, like Delingpole, is unedifying; there is something about each man's delicacy and pallor, plus the impression of slight clamminess that each exudes, [but particularly the MP], that will always leave me hesitant about agreeing with any view they express or suggestion they make; and I do acknowledge that that is very unfair and the kind of thing we females ought to be against, with our decades of objectification, blub blub - and no, don't worry, I'm not ever now or in the future going anywhere near the topic of Harvey whateverisnameis - but in my defence all I can do is quote the former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who memorably, if unwisely, said "Life's not fair" [or perhaps that was my mother and Fraser's assertion was "Life wasn't meant to be easy", now I come to think of it - but, as we say in the Antipodes, "same diff", plus my mother is infinitely wiser than any Australian politician I can think of so probably more worth listening to.])

Oh, ugh - looking at the Delingpole extract more closely now, I see that it contains not only "ahem" but the pointless interpolation of "Hello" as well, which I reckon is very nearly on a par with "ahem". We are not on the telephone for pity's sake, we are not communicating aurally - the writer cannot just shout at the reader to try to get their attention. Absolutely vulgar and lacking in grace or skill.

Do let me know if you also hate "ahem" - or "hello" (or any other new phrase I have not yet decided to torment myself by loathing). A large part of the pleasure of blogging is discovering you are not entirely alone. Or so I'm told. (Sobs quietly into handkerchief).

10 comments:

  1. I can't say I've noticed 'ahem' (although I certainly will in the future, or 'going forward' as everyone seems to he saying). 'Hello?' is quite annoying, but the phrase that really raises my blood pressure is 'natch'. Thankfully, it hasn't really caught on since I first saw it, 15 years ago, but it still pops up in the odd newspaper column.

    As for James Delingpole, there's something rather weasly about him and I rarely manage to finish his Spectator column. He tries to make himself relevant by being self-consciously contrarian, but it has a hollow ring to it. Rod Liddle is funnier.

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    1. I have a fairly strong suspicion that I've used 'natch' in this blog or a tweet or both. Covers entire head in shame. You are right - it is vile, and I have no idea what I was thinking.
      You have nailed the weasel - that is exactly the right description. I always think of him as being the equivalent of a girl called V><%$ L{{+_)(|r who I went to school with - she was always trying to be in with the in-crowd, simultaneously grovelling and seeking attention from the cool people, while not being charismatic herself. Rod Little is infinitely funnier. I got rather sanctimonious about him for a few years but either he has got better or I've got my sense of humour back. Certainly he is the first thing I turn to in the Spectator - I liked his opening line last week, which went like this:
      "I have been watching Donald Trump closely for more than a year and I have come to the considered opinion that he is a fucking idiot."

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  2. Yes, the 'ahem' can be annoying, but probably doesn't set me off like 'methinks' and a new tick that's taken off during a conversation - the speakers share info and the listener responds with 'huh' (to replace 'oh', or silence, or response)

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    1. Oh yes, I do agree - "methinks" is unspeakable, so twee that I'm squirming at the very thought, (although squirming is a word that I'm pretty uncomfortable with too, I realise as I write it).

      I've not experienced the "huh" but until a week or two ago I was in Brussels where the spoken language (apart from the two indigenous ones, of course) is a strange form of English that has little relationship to spoken English as native English speakers know it so I'm probably out of touch with new and vile conversational trends. If someone responded with 'huh' to me, it would make me feel that the person I was talking to was being deliberately rude and I would go home and weep and never speak to them again.

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  3. I don't see "ahem" in American print, but it may well be on its way. "Hello" I do see, but either I don't see it much or I've become numbed to it. I can see a use for some sign of mock deprecation, and also for a short way of pointing up the absurdity of a proposition. I don't particularly like "hello" for the latter, and I would certainly not use "ahem" for the former, though I don't right now know what I'd use instead.

    What is "pikeyness"?

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    1. I think it is a rather unpleasant way of suggesting soneomeon is vulgar, displaying what are seen, rightly or wrongly, as Essex traits, including wearing bling, (why Essex, you ask - I have no idea; I went to Malden once and it seemed a very nice country town to me)

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  4. I wasn't consciously outraged by "ahem" and "hello" until I read your post, but having done so I share your irritation. Thanks? (that's another annoying one, the interrogative thanks)

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    1. Huh? (quoting someone else's alleged new usage, see above). But actually apologies for adding to the irritation of your daily life - like when someone points out a repeating noise you hadn't noticed but afterwards cannot ignore.

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  5. I actually heard a manager use the expression “totes amaze balls” once. Enough cause for immediate sacking in my opinion.

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    1. You made me laugh out loud - certainly a good reason to leave the job and go straight to the job centre and say you deserve unemployment benefits because the conditions of your last job were genuinely intolerable. I do have a cousin who, to her husband's fury, is fond of saying, "Brillopad" for brilliant - which actually I think is kind of brillopad.

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