Saturday, October 1, 2011

Speaking of totally awesome awesomeness

I recently read an article wondering why "awesome" took over the world and now, Khaddafy-like, refuses to relinquish power. The writer—Robert Lane Greene, business correspondent for The Economist—figures the word gained currency in its present meaning sometime before 1980, as it appeared in The Official Preppy Handbook published that year.

It doesn't seem to me to go back that far, but, no doubt, that's because I don't live on either East or West Coast, and trends take their time penetrating the hinterland. Still, we have been declaring things to be awesome for a long time now.

I detect an encouraging change, however. These days, I hear "awesome" used in a somewhat ironic way. That's generally the angle I take on it. When someone does something particularly stupid (that's usually me, by the way), the cry goes up, "That was AWESOME!" If irony has to be deployed, can abandonment of "awesome" be far behind?

Sure, it may stay with us until Doomsday Day (which, I hear, really will be awesome), but I'm hoping for a little adjectival diversity in the future. That would be awesome.


  1. When I saw your newest effort, I fleetingly thought the subject was my current pet peeve,"absolutely!" Why not a column on when and how that word became de riguer and ubiquitous? (This is my first foray into blogdom. I almost signed in as "other" under gender but couldn't quite pull the trigger.)

  2. Hmm. "Absolutely" has not penetrated the outer shell to reach my nerves yet. Now, of course, I'll hear it everywhere. Hey, thanks.

  3. This is an awesome blog! To this I say "whatever."