“Welcome to another meeting of Club Cliché, where we renew terms in our vocabulary that have been beaten to death by overuse,” said our chairman, Bottom Line, as quick as a New York minute. “I see some familiar faces here: Fifteen Minutes of Fame, You Go, Girl and Compassionate Conservative. Hi, there, Occupy Wall Street and your cousin, Wall Street to Main Street, and Houston We Have a Problem. This meeting we have a whole batch of newcomers, like Existential. You seem to slip into every phrase, even when not needed. I see that Heavy Lifting has brought us two newcomers, Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. Then there’s #MeToo, which, if you Google, pops up constantly. Incidentally, Google, you are now a verb.” If it walks Like a Duck spoke up. “Don’t forget Enslaved. For 300 years the term was Slave. Why the change?”
“I have no idea. It’s like Progressive which somehow morphed from Liberal. Moving on, we now welcome Comprehensive Immigration Reform which is used to death but can mean anything from open borders to land mines. I guess Build That Wall! Is out of date along with MAGA, but those cliches, along with Losers, could be back again in four years. Speaking of which, I already miss Mexico Will Pay For It. Meantime, Hang Mike Pence may get more play in upcoming trials, which brings us to you, January 6, now joining 9/1l. Both of you are shorthand for the incident of that date, which itself gives us, depending on who is talking, Fox News or MSNBC: Rioters, Insurgents and Tourists Calmly Visiting the Capitol.” Low Hanging Fruit and On the Wrong Side of History both grabbed the microphone. “Then there’s Antifa, short for Anti-fascist.”
Bottom Line replied, “Right on target. While we are dealing with Washington, we have these two combating clichés, Election Integrity and Voter Suppression. You two are talking about the same thing, but take totally different stances.” Election Integrity spoke first. “We’ve got to prevent massive fraud at the ballot box! Every vote counts and ask not what you can do for your country.” Voter Suppression spoke next. “There is no massive voter fraud. Take souls to the polls.” Bottom Line then said, “While still in our nation’s Capital, let’s recognize Drain the Swamp, Reconciliation and Bipartisanship. We are so tired of you all.” Skin in the Game waved its hand. “Don’t ignore Infrastructure, although, like Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Infrastructure can mean anything from bridges to G5, whatever that is.” G5 stood up. “I’m new to the club, but I’m something you need and want, but don’t know it. Wait’ll I get redundant enough, like clerks say, when you leave, Have a Great One, which took over from Have a Nice Day.”
Bottom Line continued: “Such nagging farewells bring us to you, No Problem. When someone goes to a clerk to solve a difficulty, they always say ‘No Problem.’ If there was no problem, why would you be seeking their help? OK, we can always count on the press to bring us shopworn members. Fake News, congratulations. You are spreading like Covid-19. Despots and dictators around the world have embraced you when shutting down opposition TV stations and newspapers. Wonder where they got that term? Mainstream Media, you are also a good putdown. Breaking News, TV breathlessly announces you when that bulletin could be about a lost puppy or a change in the seasons. Oh, are we tired of you. Newt Gingrich trots out Elite Media in every sentence. Elite used to mean better or special, but ol’ Newt uses it as an insult. We turn to our best media cliché mongers, the newspapers’ sports section. Good to see you Pro Hoops, Pin Stripes and Little Miss Baby Cakes. Same for The Bases Are Juiced. Alas, since they moved to the top, you Lastros have been replaced by the Astros.”
“Pandemic, everyone used to call you Epidemic. The rhetorically challenged have found a gold mine in you. And speaking of gold, when bad-mouthing the CDC, you are enviably called the Gold Standard of Public Health. Stand up and take a bow, Gold Standard. Now we have Social Distancing, Masks Are Required and Vaxxed, a new term for being vaccinated. You are the opposite to Vaccine Hesitant, which won’t be around long because you’ll be dead. I think Faucid is a candidate for our club. To be Faucid means being accused of incompetence and outright lying. This term is mostly used by people who – as the saying goes – think the moon landing was fake and pro wrestling is real.
Millennials, you and your cousins, Gen X and Gen Y, were cute and fresh the first thousand times we heard of you. Where is Bullying? For a while you were all the rage. News stories, interviews with past bullying and shrinks waxing knowledgeable about your causes and effects. Today no one cares about you. I see Transgender is here, for now. Same for you, Critical Race Theory.”
“Lastly, we honor our new winners of the Cliche of the Year Award. First runner up is Cancel Culture. The dictionary defines you ‘as a form of boycotting or shunning involving an individual who is deemed to have acted or spoken in a questionable or controversial manner.’ By ‘controversial manner’ today that means anything to do with the Confederacy, and leads to changing names and toppling statues or removing them. Rice University may hide the statue of William Marsh Rice because he owned slaves and left his fortune to establish Rice for "whites only." Wonder if his heirs will want their money back? As to our big winner, the award is clear. Woke, stand up and be recognized. You have been around forever, but now you have a new meaning, and it’s a pejorative term for political or social correctness to a suffering degree. Well, that wraps up this meeting. Just remember, avoid clichés like the plague.”
Ashby is redundant at email@example.com