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October 16, 2004

We Don't ♥

I remember the old New York tourism tv and radio ads that featured the still-great "I ♥ NY" logo. There was even a cheesy jingle [RealAudio req.]: "I love New York (What a great vacation!)/ I love New York (What a great vacation!)." The ♥ symbol was translated as "love" - makes sense.

Apparently it's the thing nowadays to say "I heart" this or "I *heart*" that instead of "I love." We even have a movie, I ♥ Huckabees, whose trailer will tell you it should be spoken as "I Heart Huckabees."

What are we, thirteen-year-old girls? Shall we draw circles over our i's instead of dotting them?

I loved the word "snark." Now every Joe and Josie has used it to death (including me). Now it's "I heart." Don't even get me started on the abuse of "vanquish" which apparently is the only thing the stupid half-naked girls on Charmed ever do to their enemies. (I don't watch the show. It just seems that whenever I'm channel-surfing and land on that show, it's "if you mess with me and my sisters I will vanquish you.")

I know language evolves, especially slang. Words like this are identifiers to indicate that you belong or that others don't belong to a particular group. So in this particular example, to say "I heart" is most likely nowadays to show identity with the "hipster" set. The usage says "I am young, I am cool, I am sophisticated yet in touch with the whimsical, I am ironic, I know what's going on" and so on and so forth. That's the point of slang. I should probably embrace it, given that I have a pretty inflated opinion of myself and like to think that I too am "with it" or "in the know." But sometimes I'm just square like that, a cantankerous cow, a knee-jerk contrarian penning yet another useless rant. Or does that make me just another blogger? ;)

The usage is no great crime against humanity. I simply find it irksome, and so I choose not to use the expression. We'll agree to disagree; it's simply a matter of taste, yadda yadda. (Incidentally, a phrase I also cannot stand. But then again, I cared not for Seinfeld.) I suppose it's a reaction to overuse of the word "love" wherein "I love that dress!" expresses something quite different from "I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach...."

And yet, how often do we use the word, in its truest, deepest sense, to tell those whom we love how much they truly mean to us?

Yours, &c., LC | 06:56 PM | Writing & Language | TrackBack (0)

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