Monday, October 24, 2016

Annoying cliches...

This morning, I was awake far too early for my own good.  A bunch of my Facebook friends in the United States were finishing up their evenings.  I noticed at least two status updates that employed an old ad slogan from the early 1990s.

Yes, that's Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring in the background as we see the many ways beef can be turned into an appetizing meal in a short time period...

Even though this ad was at the height of its popularity in 1993 or so, its slogan has become an annoying cliche.  Twenty-three years after "Beef.  It's what's for dinner." was trotted out to the masses as a way to get people to go back to eating red meat, people are still using it in any number of irritating ways to describe what they're consuming for their evening meal.  Instead of beef, my friends are eating chicken or drinking wine and declaring it dinner a la the beef campaign of the early 90s.


I was exposed to the "it's what's for dinner" cliche one too many times as I woke up this morning.  In a fit of irritation, I wrote "Curse that old ad campaign for beef."  One of my friends immediately knew what I was writing about and asked for confirmation, which I provided.  Another piped up cheerfully about how much she liked the campaign and how she thinks it needs to be "brought back".  I wrote, "No, they really shouldn't [bring it back].  It's become an annoying cliche."

My chipper friend explained that she knew the campaign was "dumb", but she grew up with it and recalled it fondly (I guess I'm older than she is because I was a young woman in 1993 and certainly wasn't still growing up-- at least not physically, anyway).  She said it was like the old animated Tootsie Pop ads where the boy asks an owl how many licks it takes to get to the center of Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop.

A classic from my youth, though I don't think this ad had a slogan with nearly the staying power.

I quipped that I thought the beef folks should come up with something "new and improved".  My comment apparently amused my perky friend so fond of the "it's what's for dinner" campaign.  She said it was "punny".  What can I say?  Sometimes I come up with zingers of my own.  

I probably irritate certain people because I tend to be very uptight about language.  Some of my friends have noted my tendency to be precise about word usage and spelling.  A couple of them have even called me a "grammar Nazi", which I think may be taking things a little too far.  I don't think I'm quite that militant about language, although I will agree that I really can be picky about usage and spelling.  

Poor Bill has been corrected more than once when he's used a word that wasn't quite accurate.  For example, many years ago, Bill wrote an email to his ex wife that read, "This may seem shrewd, but my commitment to support you, personally, ended when we got divorced."

When I read that sentence, I inwardly groaned.  He wasn't being shrewd.  Shrewd is defined as being "keen" or "astute".  It's usually used to describe someone who's cunning and canny.  For example, a businessman who stealthily engineers a brilliant business deal that makes him a lot of money could be described as "shrewd".  I think the word Bill was looking for was "cruel", although I could never describe him as cruel, especially when dealing with his former wife.

Anyway, that's just one example of my low level irritation and irrational sensitivity when it comes to language.  I wouldn't call that "Nazi" behavior, though.  It's more like I just wish people expressed themselves less often in cliches... especially the one about beef or whatever else being for dinner.  I also wish people would learn how to spell and correctly use words like "Voilà!"    

I will leave you now with this classic Carlin commentary on cliches.  I may have issues with cliches, but alliteration is still pretty cool.  

I miss the fuck out of George Carlin.



  1. It's funny that you dislike the 'Beef . . . It's What's for Dinner" commercial. I think it was just before my time, but I have a cousin a few years older than I who was learning to crawl and then to walk when the commercial first hit the airwaves. The TV was on far too much in their home (according to my mom). Wherever my cousin was in the house when he heard the music, he would crawl or then later walk to the TV and would sway in time to the music. His first word was "beef." He was a bit ADHD and maybe a little OCD. He had a hard time in the car, apparently, because he had to be confined in a car seat. His mom purchased a CD of Copland's "Rodeo" ballet with "Hoedown." If she played it enough times, he would go to sleep, and even while he was awake, he at least wasn't crying because he loved the song so much. No one ever figured out what about the song was so appealing to him. He liked Sousa's "Washington Post" march as well.

    1. I like the music on the ad. I even think the ad is a good one in and of itself. I just hate that everyone in their brother uses the slogan to describe their evening victuals.

    2. I LOVE that words "victuals." Granny Clampett's favorite word, though I doubt she'd spell it that way! come to think of it, she's not actually Granny Clampett. She was Jed's mother-in-law. She was technically Granny Moses, though I think they only referenced it in one episode.


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