Wednesday, May 27, 2015


As a writer I love words. I love to arrange them and situate them in ways to sell, entertain, convince, and otherwise encourage my readers to see my point. Many words can be beautiful just standing alone. Words like “enchanting” or “heavenly” or even the word “beautiful.” These words really need no definition. They define themselves.

Of course there are words that have the opposite meaning and effect. Words like “vulgar” or “ugly.” They also define themselves.

Our language has evolved over the last few years often changing the meaning or the emphasis of some words. Some words have become signals that should cause the reader to be concerned.

I am going to go over some.

Have you ever gone furniture shopping? If you shop at a store with the word “interiors” in the name, be very, very careful. I have found that the word “interiors” rarely means inexpensive.

Here’s another of my recent favorites, “healthy” as in foods. For some unknown reason that has come to mean carrots. Rarely if ever do you see healthy applied to meat. One would get the feeling that anything other than vegetables is unhealthy. As for me vegetables are the food that my food eats.

One of the most descriptive words on my list is “upscale.” Have you ever seen a “downscale” restaurant? I have probably eaten in some but they don’t advertise that way. Upscale means that a three dollar hamburger is going to cost ten dollars. Too often it’s the same hamburger only with the designation “upscale.” That brings the price up.

I still remember when a cup of coffee was just a cup of coffee. Now it has hundreds of names and descriptions along with hundreds of different prices. If I wanted a chocolate milkshake, I would go to an ice cream shop.

Kermit the Frog of the Muppets sings “It’s not easy being green.” I certainly agree. Let us consider the word “green.” It used to be one of my favorite words. To me it meant trees, grass, oh and money. Not anymore. Now it means all things environmental. It means driving electric cars. It means sorting your garbage. It means buying into all of the cockamamie ideas of environmental wackos regardless of the facts of the situation. Like Kermit says, it’s not easy being green.

How about “natural” or “organic?” I saw a sign in the meat market that advertised organic salmon. What, pray tell, would be non-organic salmon? Oh, that must be the salmon sitting beside it that was several dollars less per pound. Whatever. If you want to pay more for a designation, be my guest.

Now for some words that I just don’t understand. It seems we have changed the meaning to suit some agenda.

Be real cautious of “processed” cheese. Some advertisers would have you believe it is better for you to eat non-processed cheese.  Here’s my question. How does milk become cheese if it is not processed? I don’t think it happens by itself.

Do you like sweet corn? Do you realize that all sweet corn is “genetically modified?” Now there’s a scary phrase. The sweet corn that we eat has come from a long line of modifications to improve its palatability and its acceptance as a human food. In fact many of the foods we eat today have been crossbred and altered to make them tastier, more stable, and more easily shippable. Somebody has been messing with their genes. How else do you think you can get tomatoes in the middle of winter?

There are many more questionable words but I hope you get my point. It is up to us to buy into or reject wild claims. As for me, I think I’ll go get me a down-scale hamburger with genetically modified tomato and pig out.

Ron Scarbro

No comments: