“It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt…”
Have you ever tired of hearing a particular expression or word? I certainly have. A few years ago, omnipresent, annoying examples were “early on” and “tell it like it is.” Both were done to death by the late Howard Cosell on TV’s “Monday Night Football.”
More recently, it’s “at the end of the day.” Ed Rollins-a long-time Republican Party operative most recently connected with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign-has cornered the market. As a matter of fact, whenever he pops up on cable television news, I cringe and find myself counting how many times he says “at the end of the day.” Ugh!
And he’s not alone. Everywhere you turn, it seems political pontificators preface their prose with this pitiful, second-hand phrase. Hey, y’all, at the end of the day, why not give us a break? You are simply insufferable. I’m just telling it like it is.
But even more annoying to me is the constant use of “cool,” “like” and “amazing” by lame white people on the tube-entertainers, news readers, commentators, talk show hosts and guests, all manner of wannabes and politicians. I almost gag thinking about it.
Let’s start with that old standby “cool.” This is one of many slang expressions that grew out of jazz and other popular music genres originated by Black people. It has been co-opted by whites who are either too dumb or too oblivious to understand.
And just what, exactly, is connoted by the overused “cool”? Is it an attitude? Is it a way to behave, dress, dance, talk, walk or sing? Is it kids trying to act grown-up? Is it heavily tattooed athletes? Is it whites trying to act and look Black? Think about it.
In recent years, there have been many bizarre and goofy examples of white people of all ages-including so-called celebrities-characterizing something as “cool.” It rears its overused head on television, in movies, in parks, at concerts, on the street, the subway and in newspapers and magazines. It’s all over the place.
One of the word’s most curious uses that garnered lots of attention in New York occurred back on Oct. 26, 1999, at a highly publicized Ku Klux Klan rally in Foley Square near City Hall. Perhaps you recall the incident.
Although more Kluxers were expected, only 16 of the infamous white racists showed up-in white robes and caps but without masks. After a 56-year-old white high school teacher expressed anger by punching the leader, one of his admiring students was quoted as saying, “I think it’s really cool of him.” Hmm…
The teacher’s action may well have been righteous, but was it “cool”? Do these people know something we don’t know? Or are they simply a day late and a dollar short? Here are a few examples from the last number of years:
“Hey, Dad, you’re not nearly as cool as they [voters] think you are,” said a daughter of George W. Bush-then governor of Texas-during his first presidential run.
“But hey, look at all the cool stuff he gives her,” said a naive New York Post columnist discussing “Feminism’s Boyfriend.”
“How’d I do?” a 50ish Black TV talker asked his 20ish white producer after panning a brainless, yuppy opus masquerading as drama. “Cool,” came the embarrassed reply.
“Baseball is cool again,” said a New York baseball writer, referring to Mark McGwire’s 1998 efforts to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record.
Christine Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, was called “a cool mom.”
I recall when “cool” was an air-conditioned movie or car and Miles Davis personified the “cool school” of jazz. Or as Marlon Brando famously mumbled in 1954’s classic motorcycle gang flick “The Wild One,” “If you want to stay cool, you got to whale.”
Now on to some of those, like, amazing references so many people in the public eye amazingly, like, overuse. You know, such as “amazing” and “like.”
The online Free Dictionary’s definition of “amazing” is: “To affect with great wonder; astonish; to cause great wonder or astonishment.” So that must be why all these people call a mundane act, event or someone’s physical appearance “amazing.”
I do get chills hearing stirring versions of “Amazing Grace,” such as the bagpipes near the end of 1976’s fine remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but I gag when “amazing” is thrown around willy-nilly. No matter how you cut it, skinny, flat-ass, white female movie stars with no hips are not “amazing.” But that’s how many are described.
Finally, what’s up with preceding every other phrase with “like”? I always thought the word meant something that is similar. You know, such as: “Her face looked like 40 miles of bad road.” But no, now we’ve got nonsense such as the following recounting of a street crime I recently heard in a TV news interview of a young white woman:
“I was, like, looking over my shoulder and, like, I saw this guy running. And then, like, he was, like, jumping over a fence and, like, he turned and, like, pointed a gun at me. I was, like, are you kidding me?”
At the end of the day, I’ve got to ask, like, what the hell is, like, going on here? I mean, like, how cool can it be to keep saying “like” and calling everything under the sun “cool” and “amazing”? Like, please tell me? And, like, that’s the name of that tune. It’s, like, cool and amazing, isn’t it?