It occurred to me the other day that it’s become refreshing to hear someone drop a good old-fashioned cliche. Put the cart before the horse. Make a mountain out of a molehill, please. Let the wheels come off the wagon. (Just don’t throw me under the bus.) Why? I think it has to do with the virtualization–ugly word, sorry–of everything. Spend too much time pondering abstractions like “knowledge production” and “the dissemination of research” and you begin to long for something concrete to hang onto. Phrases that used to feel worn smooth, like rubbed-out pennies, have texture again, if you bother to stop and think about them. Most of us in big-city America don’t see carts or horses very often, and when we do they’re a surprise. I like being reminded, even tangentially, that such things exist, and that somewhere, if the sun’s shining, I could make hay. In a field. A real field. Where things grow.
What are the digital era’s most obnoxious–or lovely–cliches? Got any favorites, old or new? I’d love to hear them.
I am fighting a losing battle for “the carrot-and-stick approach,” as in, the carrot you dangle from a stick in front of the goat that’s pulling your cart. Kids these days all seem to think you’re supposed to hit the goat with the stick.
David H. says
Right now, I’m particularly annoyed by the phrase “sweet spot.”
For a while, though, I was investigating down-home phrases — “That was more X than a y” — a gift for which we urbanites lack.