Trendiness, Buzzwords & Pet-Peeves

The NTT IndyCar Series offseason ended this past weekend, with Josef Newgarden and Team Penske collecting the first win of the season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The podium had no real surprises, so it appears to be business as usual. There was a lot of offseason news to write about, which left me little time to devote to some of the more frivolous “puff” pieces I like to do in the offseason. Since there is a weekend between the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the IndyCar Classic at COTA, I thought I would squeeze one in that I had planned to run a couple of weeks ago – so just pretend for a few minutes that we are still in the offseason.

Whether or not anyone enjoys reading it, I’ve always enjoyed what has become a (mostly) annual event of the IndyCar offseason, and that’s writing about some of my many pet-peeves. Your enjoyment of this may be debatable, but I find it very therapeutic to write about them. So if you were looking for some hard-core racing opinions from me, bear with me today and come back Monday for a more conventional post.

This yearly rant normally consists of corporate buzzwords, trendy sayings, misuse of the English language and irritating commercials. If any of these sayings apply to you – stop using them immediately! Some of these you may have read here before, but they keep annoying me. So let’s get started on my final farewell to the IndyCar offseason, one week late.

Indy 500: Most will disagree with me on this one, because most people use it – but I don’t. If you’ll notice, throughout the history of this site – I’ve always referred to the race on Memorial Day weekend as the Indianapolis 500, and not the Indy 500. The only time I use the phrase “Indy” while writing is if I’m texting or if I’m limited for space such as one of my headlines or on Twitter.

Donald Davidson doesn’t use the term Indy and he says that Tony Hulman didn’t like it either. That’s good enough for me. You might catch me using it verbally in conversation, but I even make a conscious effort to not do that.

The Indy: Indy 500 may not be desirable, but it’s acceptable. I won’t correct anyone for using the term Indy, even if I don’t use it. But if I ever hear anyone referring to the Indianapolis 500 as The Indy, I will reprimand them on site. To hear someone say “We’re going to The Indy this May”, absolutely makes my skin crawl. The only thing worse is hearing someone say they are “Doing The Indy”. [shudder]

Reach out: I think I’ve listed this one before, but it is becoming more and more frequent in my surroundings and I am finding it much more irritating with time. It has gotten to the point that I am now correcting people that use it. I’ll let them know that they are not going to reach out to someone, they are going to contact someone. They will look at me like a dog looks at a typewriter, and then say “I don’t know why I’ve started saying that”. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, don’t do it.

It just sounds a little too warm and fuzzy when someone e-mails me to tell me why they are reaching out to me. Their credibility immediately drops when I read that. I am either going to call, text, e-mail or contact you. But I am never going to reach out to you.

Circle back: Are we in the air? Are we going in circles chasing our tail? I am in a lot of meetings at work each week, where a lot of pretentious people enjoy using corporate jargon when everyday language would be a lot more effective. If they want us to talk about something later, why don’t they just say “Let’s talk about that later”? Instead, they have to sound trendy and suggest that we circle back to that later. Please.

Parking lot: Some of you probably thought that a parking lot was where you left your car. That’s what I thought. But recently, I’ve learned that the term parking lot is a verb. In those same meetings where people want to circle back to things, they find themselves one-upped by those that want to parking lot a topic. The first time I heard that one, I had to ask what it meant. They looked at me like I was an idiot. In an exasperated tone – they explained to me that it meant to circle back to it. Who’s the idiot?

360-degrees: Just last week, I was watching our local news one night. One of the young and hip anchors was describing two people on the City Council with opposing viewpoints and smugly said “They are 360-degrees away from each other”. It sounds like they must be pretty closely aligned to me.

Anymore: This word is totally misused. To begin with, there is the one-word version and the two-word version. Anymore should be used like “That’s not happening anymore” whereas the two-word version should be used as “They don’t have any more candy”.

Lately, I’ve noticed that people are using the word anymore in place of the word nowadays. The word nowadays is a good word that is not to be confused with the word now. A good example is “I used to eat ice cream every night, but nowadays I only eat it on weekends”. Using now instead of nowadays would not be the same meaning. But it has become popular to insert anymore for nowadays. When I hear it, I come unglued. How stupid it sounds to say “I used to eat ice cream every night, but anymore I only eat it on weekends”. That just makes no sense.

GOAT: In sports, it’s common to have debates about who is the greatest of all time. In football, the debate centers around Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas. Being an old soul, I tend to lean toward Unitas – but there are legitimate arguments for each one. In IndyCar racing, the greatest of all time argument centers on mostly Mario Andretti or AJ Foyt; but younger fans who never saw those two from the sixties race like to throw Scott Dixon’s name into the mix.

Just in the last couple of years, it has become popular to assign this debate an acronym. Unfortunately the acronym for Greatest of All Time spells out GOAT. What’s worse is that people tend to use it as a word in conversation – as in, “I think AJ Foyt is the goat”. You’d better be ready to run if you say that in front of AJ.

For a minute: It used to be that this phrase was meant to denote either an actual minute or a few minutes; as in “I’m going to stop by for a minute”. Then I heard somebody say “I worked there for a minute”. I thought that was a cutesy way of saying that somebody worked at a place for such a short amount of time that it wasn’t worth mentioning. I asked how long she actually worked there and she said “Eighteen years”.

Since then, I’ve heard the hip trendy sportscasters on ESPN use the word minute to describe what is in actuality a very long time. Why has this become a thing?

Flustrated: As I type this, the red squiggly lines show up to tell me that it’s not a word. I know that. It’s a non-word. This one has probably made this list every year, but I’m hearing it more and more. Just yesterday, I heard a former Titan using it on a local sports-talk radio show. You can be flustered or you can be frustrated. But you cannot be flustrated. I’m afraid that if people keep hearing this non-word, they’ll start using it and it will spread like a disease. Ain’t was a non-word at one point, but it has become so commonly used – most people will argue with you that it is a word. It ain’t.

Any KFC commercial: If I was a descendant of Col. Harlan Sanders, I would be upset at the way my great-grandfather was being portrayed by the company he founded. As it is, I am just generally annoyed at all the bad, and I mean bad, commercials featuring different people dressed as him. Col. Sanders is not a caricature like Mr. Peanut is for Planters. He was a real person. He was not the comical oaf you see on television nowadays.

Impact: When did impact become a trendy verb? People use it because they’re too unsure of whether or not to use effect or affect. They sound so caring when asking “How does that impact you?”, but what they are really saying is “I’m too stupid to know how exactly to ask how you are affected, so I’m going to use a power word to ask you that instead.”

All of the sudden: My friend Paul Dalbey brought this one to my attention and says it is one of his pet-peeves. I can see why. The correct phrase is “All of a sudden”. If you have to be told that, this flustrates me.

For all intensive purposes: No, no no! Think about it – this makes no sense at all. The correct phrase is “For all intents and purposes”. If you can’t use the right phrase, just say practically or virtually. They are both shorter and mean the same thing.

Gifted:  This isn’t the adjective, as in "Felix Rosenqvist is a gifted driver". No, I’m talking about the trendy new way of saying someone was given something; such as "He was gifted the latest set of shocks and dampers". He wasn’t gifted the shocks, he was given the shocks.

Any Liberty Mutual commercial: Whether it’s the girl who named her car Brad or the moron that throws his wallet into the water – Liberty Mutual has had annoying commercials for the last several years. Someone should reach out to them and tell them they need a new ad campaign.

A NASCAR: It pains me when I hear people say that Jeff Gordon used to drive a NASCAR. No, he drove in NASCAR. He drove a stock car while he drove in NASCAR. NASCAR is an acronym for the sanctioning body – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. You cannot drive a sanctioning body.

Discover’s “More Money, More Money” commercial: If you’ve seen this, you know what I’m talking about. No further comment necessary.

Curve my appetite: Someone at work says she smokes because it curves her appetite. I wonder if she watches Larry David’s show, “Curve Your Enthusiasm”.

Touching base: When I think of touching base, I think of a runner on first in baseball tagging up, when a fly-ball is hit deep to right-field. In the workplace, it means “I’m getting back with you.” I think most people who use this corporate buzz phrase, don’t even know it’s origin. It’s just a little too cute.

Genre: I mentioned this one just a couple of weeks ago, and it has made this list before. The word category is a very descriptive word and does not lend itself to misinterpretation. It’s a very good word. Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was not fancy enough – hence the word genre.

I am convinced that people use genre instead of category because they think it makes them sound sophisticated. Instead, it just makes them sound pretentious.

This could go on for quite a while, but my negativity has probably already run a few people off. If you’ve made it down this far, you either agree with me or you’re wondering just how far off the rails I’ll go. Am I overly critical? My wife thinks so. Do you identify with several of these? Then we think alike and that might concern you. Do you say any or a lot of these? Stop immediately.

Thanks for sticking with me, because with one race already behind us we are pretty much in race mode throughout the season. All of the sudden, the NTT IndyCar Series season has sneaked up on me. Before anyone gets flustrated with me carrying on any further, we’ll parking lot this for now and I’ll circle back to it later. I’ll reach out and share it with you when I do.

George Phillips

21 Responses to “Trendiness, Buzzwords & Pet-Peeves”

  1. I see those kids found their way onto George’s yard again. 😀

    I too try to always say Indianapolis 500, as Mr. Hulman intended. I will occasionally even through “sweepstakes” in there. More annoying, I print a lot of stuff for IMS at work and their stuff almost always says “Indy 500”, I’m looking at several things hanging on my office wall that we’ve printed and they all say “Indy 500”.

    Reach out, circle back, impact, gifted, and genre are just buzzwords to make you feel cool/fancy/important. I hate “GOAT”, hate “MOP” replacing “VIP” even more. As a kid I thought it was “all intensive purposes” as it can sound like that when spoken, but I realized it was wrong and haven’t said it since. Not sure I’m with you on “nowadays” though, to me that sounds very old-timey. I’m mostly with you on the rest, though I don’t lose any sleep over any of it.

  2. Jack in Virginia Says:

    You left out a couple of my non-favorites, such as “Drill Down” (do a more thorough investigation). I also cringe when someone says they “refer back” to something. Help stamp out and abolish redundancy!

  3. I assume this post is meant as a tribute to Andy Rooney

  4. My brother constantly repeats the phrase “but the bottom line is–” but he seldom is at the actual bottom line.

  5. billytheskink Says:

    I don’t struggle with “Indy 500” in general conversation, though I do prefer to use “Indianapolis 500”. I do very much struggle with the race itself eschewing “Indianapolis” for “Indy” in its logo and promotional materials in recent years.

    “The Indy” is an appropriate term for the race in Toronto and the former races in Surfer’s Paradise and Vancouver… and perhaps other events that use “Indy” in their title as well.

    For me, KFC’s ads run the gamut from dreadful to mildly amusing. When they first began and were cycling back in time through Saturday Night Live stars, I thought (hoped) they were eventually going to get to Garrett Morris. However, I must very much disagree that Col. Sanders is not a caricature. Yes, he was a real person, but he was a real person who acted as a caricature for decades… he put a drawing of his own face in the company logo years before he sold the chain and wore his trademark white suit and string tie in nearly every public appearance from the 50s until his death. He may or may not have cared for the company’s current portrayal of “Col. Sanders”, but it is very much a portrayal of a character that he created and not the man himself.

  6. Tampa Joe Says:

    Stick to racing! There are 100,000 unemployed stand up comics in the world. We don’t need another one.

  7. The GOAT thing is the worst, not even the saying, the whole process. Society has some badge of pride these days in watching what they consider the greatest player/driver/etc so we have to make this designation to every person who is doing well in whatever they are doing. It gets really old.

    While I typed this, Kyle Busch got credit for another win and Ichiro was credited with a hit from little league that makes him better than Pete Rose.

  8. From my non-native speaker’s perspective, these kind of blog entries are always very interesting because they help me learn something about the language that is new to me. After all, it takes a while for new developments to make it across the proverbial pond.

    Indy 500 was a common term to me here in Europe even in the early 90s when my favourite driver at the time, Nigel Mansell, drove in the race. In contrast, the Indy does not sound very knowledgeable. To reach out must go way back. I noticed it in a song first which was released in 1988. To circle back reminds me of another song from 2003 but I had never been completely sure what it meant until now. Parking lot as a verb sounds rather ludicrous. I’d rather put something in park, like when using the gear lever of an automatic transmission. People should not have to be geometrically inclined to know if they mean 180 degrees or 360 degrees. Everybody should know the difference. That use of anymore sounds like someone swallowed the not from “not anymore”. I don’t think this one is here to stay because it’s just too confusing. It took me a while to figure out what a goat was and that admirers of the goat were not satanists. How odd that a minute seems to have become a long time when it once was a short time. Is that new meaning going to last a minute or just a minute? “Flustrated” reads like an incomprehensible typo indeed. I still have no idea what people want to say with it, even after having read your blog post.I’d probably correct people to if they want to know about “an impact” on me. This blog post affected me. Luckily, it wasn’t a fence post because those are dangerous. “All the sudden” sounds like somebody mumbling. Whilst the genre of mumble rap is still a thing, the world might get to witness more bloopers like this one. Or the next one: “intensive purposes”. How much of a disregard for the so-called “hard words” do people have to have to get this one wrong? And don’t we all know that Felix was donated his dampers? After all, it’s his boss showing his philanthropic side when he assists his employee with good materials, isn’t it? I’ve heard the “a NASCAR” instead of “a race car” before: I rarely watch NASCAR races so I’m fairly certain that it must have happened during the showing of the 1st edition of the Charlotte Roval race. I don’t know anything about baseball but categories in literature and music are genres.

    There are more things wrong about smoking “curving someone’s appetite” than just the words. I once talked to a former smoker and she said more often than not did she not have enough time to have breakfast in the morning because she had to spend the valuable time to smoke and get her nicotine levels up from the downtime during the night. Going through that is something I would not want to wish to anybody.

  9. Derek Daly’s favorite TV station has a new weather girl that uses the word “ here” about 20 times during every presentation. I don’t know if she’s been told to say that or what her problem is. It’s so annoying I can’t even concentrate on her forecast.

  10. Dave in Mukwonago Says:

    George: How do you feel about Kevin Lee’s use of “efforting”? I have been using it for awhile and rather like it. Although it looks a bit silly in print.

    • billytheskink Says:

      This is a good take.

      I rather like the term as wellm but I once used “efforting” in an e-mail that my boss was copied on and he was quick to ask me not to use it anymore…

  11. well, with Indycar incorporating Indy in its name,
    saying/using Indy 500 doesn’t hurt my feelings.

  12. Paul Davis Says:

    When did drivers begin referring to the Indianapolis 500 as “the show”, as in “were just focusing on getting the car in The Show…”. MLB is “The Show”…I agree that the proper term is either “The Indianapolis 500” or “The Race”. I agree that “Indy 500” is used WAY too much. Even IMS is using “Indy” as part of their logo? Thumbs down…

  13. “It is what it is” is mine nowadays. Basically is another one.

  14. I thank you for “impact.” No one needs to say, “How will that impact us,” if impact means hit or strike. Note Bill Simpson’s crash helmets branded “Impact.”
    Likewise, don’t bother saying “I’ll contact you,” as contact means touch. The race car contacted the wall. The race car was retired due to contact. “See the black marks on the wall where the tires made contact?” The fuel truck contacted the (airplane’s) engine nacelle.
    When persons say, “I just wanted to touch base with you,” I interrupt with, “What base did you want to touch?” Some dense persons resume, “I just wanted to touch base with you regarding…” (sigh)

    We thank you for blogging, George. But note that end punctuation should be within quotation marks, as I type it.

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