The insufficiency of irony.

March 10, 2009


“Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?” -David Foster Wallace.


The rock stops here.

November 19, 2008

As a verb, “rock” has always been suspect at best. Anyone who sincerely says, “I like to rock” or “Man, The Decemberists rocked Schuba’s last night” is on really shaky ground. But since the forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll fought for our right to rock, I will tolerate the use of the word in that context to my death — no matter how lame or ill-advised. However, I refuse to suffer the use of the word “rock” as a verb to mean “sport” any longer. I’m referring to usages like this:

“I might have to rock a sweater vest at my sister’s wedding.”

“Look at my dog. He’s rocking a spiked collar.”

“You are totally rocking a I-woke-up-five-minutes-before-work look.”

In this context, “rock” is usually used to describe an audacious decision. One wouldn’t say, for instance, that he’s rocking blue jeans — unless he was wearing them in a situation where one wouldn’t normally wear blue jeans. And people sometimes use it sarcastically to describe an unfortunate circumstance: “I was totally rocking a Sears catalog look.” But the truly unfortunate circumstance is this lexicographical development. I think I speak for most right-minded people when I say let’s get the rock out of here.