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Cringe-Inducing Editorial Trends: The Red Pen

The other day, I came across an article with this as the lead-in:

Webster’s defines “bioacoustics” as …

While this may have been an innovative way to start a paper in, say, high school, it lost its creative luster after about the 4,333,531,325th time someone used it.

This trend has been around since the stone ages, but some newer trends are just as cringe-inducing. Just like Crocs and the Macarena, some trends just infest the whole damn planet and muck it up for the rest of us.

1. ____________ is the new green.

First it was “orange is the new black” or “red is the new pink,” and as if that wasn’t annoying enough, this green thing will surely drive me to an early grave. When black became the new green, suddenly concern for the environment became cool. Then, George Lopez told me that brown is the new green. The other day I saw an advertising agency suggesting that blue will replace green in the environmental movement. Then I saw it, the coup de grâce—green is the new black. Please God, make it stop.

2. To _________ or Not to ____________.
If you’re going to rip someone off, who better to rip from than Shakespeare, right? Seriously, though, how can this keep getting published? The only good thing that could have come of this is that people might have learned something about split infinitives, but no such luck. My colleagues send me titles like this all the time just so they can laugh at my reaction. Shakespeare wrote like a million things—can we at least switch it up? Good writing, good writing, wherefore art thou good writing?

3. Texting language is the new green/black.
I’m worried about our world’s future. I care about polar bears and kids. I am never without my reusable mug; hell, I don’t even own a car. But what worries me the most is the future of the written word, especially in relation to love. Remember love letters and romantic poetry? Remember the flowing, exquisitely beautiful language in great novels? Now it’s—Hey Cu T. ILU. H&K. CYT. Huh? I am in agony here, people. If the next version of Sonnets from the Portuguese comes out with, HDI LV Z? LT ME CNT TH WYS, just shoot me.

4. Have you checked out my blog?
If I never had to hear the word “blog” again in my life, it still wouldn’t erase the torture I have suffered; that word is like a thousand daggers in my brain. Why are people acting like blogging is the new black? Still, I find I’m more aggravated with the word “blog” than the bloggers themselves, even though too many of them plug their blogs every chance they get like they’re the used car salespeople of the Internet. It would be nice to get an email from someone that doesn’t end with, “Check out my blog.” I mean, I’m not just going to just test drive any old jalopy, you know? And it’s getting worse by the minute; I actually saw the word “blolumn” the other day. God save us all.

5. Staycation’s all I (n)ever wanted.
I will break my own rule of not using all caps just to let you how much I HATE the word staycation. The word actually comes from a Canadian TV show; then it was picked up by a New York magazine. Now it’s in every single travel magazine and Web site in the known universe. I can only hope that once the economy picks up, people will leave their houses again and actually go on real vacations, so that word can go the way of “Whazzzuuuuuup” and “You go, girl!”

6. The Suffix “Ista”
I would never call myself an editorista even though I practice the art of copy editing. You know why? Because it makes no sense. Plus, these days, everyone’s some sort of “ista”—fashionista, barista, recessionista—and again, the simple overuse of it is enough to drive me into a tantrumista. Here’s the deal. I happen to like heavy metal music and call myself a metal head, but I don’t feel the need to apply that to every single thing I like: chocolate milk head, sex head, good grammar head, puppy head. Imagine how mad the original “ista” is at being ripped off so many times. She’s probably changed her blog title to PissedOffIsta.

K, gotta get back 2 work. H&K 2 all of U.

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