IF I’VE HEARD IT ONCE, I’VE HEARD IT A THOUSAND TIMES…

Mrs. Hate puzzled over what to title this post, and then decided this title had a certain panache to it.

The problem is, this title would be applicable to MANY of the words and phrases that make Mrs. Hate gnash her teeth and beat her head against the wall.

The phrase chosen for today’s diatribe is “jewel in the crown”. For example, “The new restaurant is the jewel in the crown amidst the downtown revitalization.”

Mrs. Hate can’t really say that she hears this phrase in ordinary everyday conversations, but she’s read it in the neighboring small city’s newspaper what seems like a thousand times, and that’s where triteness and pomposity meet.

Please, news writers. Can’t you just say “The new restaurant will be great for downtown revitalization” or something plain, simple, and sturdy like that? Or, “Our downtown revitalization is progressing nicely, and the new restaurant will be a huge part of that”?

Triteness and pomposity looove to hang out together, Mrs. Hate fears. Now why do you suppose this is so?

Repeating trite words and phrases takes the onus off of one to think for oneself. (Mrs. Hate had a hard time parsing the previous sentence; see http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/36581/grammar-question-themself for her agony {sort of agonizing…just some OCD grammar issues coming through} in choosing appropriate word. She figured “oneself” would work well enough.)

And pomposity? Bah, a pox on pomposity. Mrs. Hate guesses if you’re silly enough to be trite, there’s a good chance you’re silly enough to be pompous.

In the “jewel in the crown” case, South Georgia is not exactly the British Empire and India, and the mayor of the small city near Mrs. Hate’s delightfully stagnant little town is not exactly Benjamin Disraeli, who is credited with being the originator of this phrase.

So, let’s get over ourselves, folks, and just talk in plain words.

Mrs. Hate takes her jewels around her neck and in her ears, and the only adornment for a crown ought to be the “stars in your crown” one might enjoy in Heaven.

 


PLEASE TELL ME A CARROT CAKE COOKIE DOESN’T HAVE LOW MORALS

Mrs. Hate would say “this was the straw that broke the camel’s back”, but that camel’s back was broke a long time ago.

Furthermore, according to most any food-related article one has read over the past, say, ten years, a bar of chocolate or, heck, anything chocolate-related is just as sleazy and trashy as that carrot cake cookie.

What on earth is Mrs. Hate going on about here? Is this what she meant by saying “there will be diatribes”?

Well, yes. And it all started with her looking at a catalogue before tossing it in the trash. RIght there on page 17 was the decadent carrot cake cookie, tempting one to pay good money for its dissipated, deviant self.

The problem is that the word “decadent”, defined in Merriam-Webster as “having low morals”, is constantly being used to describe particular items of food, primarily those of a sweet nature. To be fair, way down at number three on the Merriam-Webster list of ranked meanings is the definition “characterized or appealing to self-indulgence”; Mrs. Hate guesses that, depending on your eating habits, eating a carrot cake cookie might be self-indulgent, but that’s going down another rabbit trail. Back to the number one definition of decadent.

Mrs. Hate feels that the word decadent is more so along the lines of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who said “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” More importantly, if you grew up in a moral family, you knew that even a whiff of decadence was not something that would go over real well with the folks. But at least everyone was in unspoken agreement that decadency had to do with a HUMAN oh-my-gosh.

When, how, why—Mrs. Hate might start sputtering here—WHO on earth decided it was linguistically appropriate to start using the word DECADENT when describing poor old helpless cookies, candies, cakes, and other such sweets?

There’s probably no answer to this question; the word just started slowly infiltrating the culinary world, and now we toss the word around cavalierly and without thinking about the true meaning of the word. (Not to mention once everybody and their brother starts using a word overmuch, then it becomes laughably trite—one of Mrs. Hate’s major pet peeves.)

Why not refer to the carrot cake cookie as “debauched”, “depraved”, or “dissolute”? Those are all synonyms for “decadent”. Nope, “decadent” will refuse to give up the glory; she’s trashy like that.

Mrs. Hate can only hope that one day there will be a grand revolt against using this word to describe food, and said word will be used to describe those activities that are best left unsaid and in private.