Cliché: not necessarily a bad thing


I may have dared in a recent post to call something cliché, which resulted in one bizarre response of not just taking offence, but serious personal issue with the comment. So I would like to clear up the misconception that all clichés are bad.

cliché

Bad clichés do exist, obviously, hence their negative connotations. For example, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. This is a bad cliché daaahling because it is usually accompanied by a coward, a crying person and a patronising packet of Kleenex. Another terrible and pervasive cliché is the portrayal of women in literature as either virgins or whores, but I don’t have all day.

However, many clichés are brilliant and that is precisely why they have become overused. In my opinion ‘love at first sight’ would be a wonderful cliché to come into being. This is the again true of a white Christmas, red roses on Valentine’s Day and a classic sob story on X Factor.

Clichés are not intrinsically evil, they are merely common forms of expression, and the only way that that is bad in itself is if you are trying to proclaim your originality.

So perhaps before throwing the baby out with the bath water, the toys out of the pram or crying over spilt milk, it would be helpful to consult a dictionary.

cliché

ˈkliːʃeɪ/

noun

 

1.

“a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.”

 

“a very predictable or unoriginal thing or person.”

 

Google

I do apologise to the many of you already aware of this definition but, at the end of the day, a problem shared is a problem halved.

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Are we really addicted to technology, or is that just the latest way to pick on young people?

An older relative sent me an email recently which included some hilarious cartoons about the damned Youth Of Today and their addiction to technology. Before you ask, no, I did not point out the irony of her emailing that dig. I’m not that mean. But it got me thinking: are we really as addicted to our phones, computers and tablets as the older generations claim, or is that just the latest way to pick on young people?Image

http://www.tradeandexportme.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Technology.jpg

From my experience, older people have hurled around generalisations about young people for years; some of which simply are not true. Enter the ASBO Generation. These are the chavs that have been punished with that label for drinking cider on street corners and being about as intimidating as Crabbe and Goyle. Although Crabbe might have deserved more than an ASBO for his marijuana cultivation…and participation in the London riots. But labelling all teenagers who have nothing but a terrible dress sense as criminals is hardly appropriate.

Speaking of which, here comes the stereotype of the tattooed thug. According to some older people, the ‘craze’ of tattoos among the younger generation means that they have poor judgement, are therefore less employable and generally a threat to their middle-class idyll. I would hasten to remind these people that the only reason we assume this is a mark of poor judgement is because we have seen tattoos sagging on the skin of older people. There is nothing new about them.

But the generalisation that really gets my bleating goat is the idea that young people are addicted to technology. In 2006 a Demos survey claimed that young people had no social skills, which I am assuming translates as ‘some young people text during dinner/parties/on public transport’. I would like to point out that a) yes, this could be construed as rudeness but b) this does not impede their ability to function socially without a phone. It has also been said that we spend more time creating an online identity than a real one. And for some people this is true. When your Facebook and Twitter identities overtake reality you have a problem, but the truth is that the world has gone online and those who complain about it do so out of a failure to keep up. I like to compare some older people’s attitude towards technology with pretending to not be playing tag when you are too slow to reach base. No one, especially myself, likes to accept failure, but this mustn’t be an excuse to attack those who pass.

Hopefully the older people you know are tech-savvy, GTA playing, Tweeting winners, and for fear of generalising myself, some of them definitely are. But if you have come out of touch with those older people who aren’t, why not send them an email?

Uninvited directions to the G-spot? I might chip a nail!

therealmissopinionista

In the week or so that has passed since my last blog, I have been subject to many sexist comments, bordering on harassment. Not because of my last blog, might I add, but for absolutely no perceivable reason other than the fact that I am a woman.  What were the comments, I hear you cry. Contrary to the name-and-shame culture I would so love to partake in, I am not going to reveal the identity or touching sentiments articulated by each swine because: a) we never made proper, intelligible acquaintance and b) I would rather not give them the chance of glorification by the minority. However, the Everyday Sexism project has highlighted that for many women this type of harassment is expected as a part of daily life and Leah Green’s video which sees her turning the tables on unsuspecting men demonstrates the novelty of this alien role reversal.

Whilst…

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Gap Yah? No. Charming the churros off a Spanish señor? Yes.

In contrast to my usual posts, I have chosen to write about something personal this week.

The Intimate Newsflash is as follows: I am going travelling. Not as in, I’m going on a gap yah to Asia to find myself/mess around with Hugo and Bunny whilst I wonder what the hell to do with my life/pose in as many thong bikinis as I can fit in to my suitcase. No, instead I am going interrailing around Europe which, in my humble opinion, will definitely have its benefits…

It’s cheaper.

I am travelling by train, staying in a mixture of youth hostels and other people’s homes and not doing a cringey cliché bungee jump. If I wanted to prove my courageous and daring spirit on this trip, I would probably start by attempting to speak to the people I meet in their own language. I might even sacrifice the money for a fishbowl to buy a phrase book.

It is closer to home.

As a person who has never really been capable of going for too long without a) my own bed and b) my Nan’s cowboy hotpot, Europe is definitely a better choice for travelling than halfway across the globe, because I will not have to compensate for the jet-lag by staying away for six months. But before you elect me to Chief of the Fun Police, I have to add that there is just as much adventure to be found in our own continent. It is only the curse of the Bragosaurus which makes people think they have to skip Europe for more ‘exotic’ climes. Paris, Rome and Barcelona are equally as fabulous as the Great Wall of China.

Image

My interpretation of the Bragosaurus

However, even I will admit to there being one flaw in my Grand Plan.

Travelling through Europe is the perfect opportunity, you might say, to practice my undergraduate French, eight years in the making. Yes, I may have dreams of having a tête-à-tête with a Frenchman who is simply blown away by my words; however I don’t think many Frenchmen would be blown away by a heated discussion about euthanasia. Contrary to practically every exam board and university in the country, natives are not accustomed or partial to swotty travellers trouncing them in a debate on the use of genetically modified organisms in farming or the death penalty. Shocking, isn’t it? Hence, I am sceptical that my dreams of being swept off mes pieds by a Frenchman will come into fruition. And I am even less confident about the other countries!

But you never know, in four weeks time I might have donned my flamenco shoes and charmed the churros off a Spanish señor. We’ll see.