Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Top five terms for bloggers to avoid in 2007

These poor little buggers have been all but worn out over the last 12 months – let’s give them a break for a while, and use some alternatives, eh?

5) “Tory Leader David Cameron”
– Surely it’s becoming increasingly apparent that – in his professed attitudes, at least – he’s not a Tory, but a Whig? And – potentially – a very good thing too…

4) Blogosphere
– Normally at number one on any list of “crappy terms used by bloggers”, the only reason for it not being higher up the list is because, several years after it was first coined (by some bastard moron who deserves to rot in hell for all eternity), it still shows no sign of being replaced with anything less God-damned awful.

Personally, I’d opt for “the Fifth Estate” (if only to start annoying stuck-up journos from the Fourth Estate, and to underline the distinction between blogs and the press).

Any chance of that catching on? Doubtful… It is, however, if taken back to the usage that Carlyle attributed to Burke, entirely appropriate – just as the Fourth Estate of the press sits in self-satisfied judgement over the “Three Estates” of Parliament, so does the Fifth Estate sit in self-satisfied judgement over the other four. It’s perfect, see?

3) Orwellian
– Yes, we get it, already. Our overlords are a bunch of bastards. But what everyone actually means when they say “Orwellian” is “it’s a bit like Nineteen Eighty-Four – or, at least, those bits of it I can remember, as I haven’t read it for years…” Anyone going on to use the rhetorical “what would Orwell have thought about what’s going on today?” – assuming, naturally, that Orwell would think precisely the same as the writer – is an evident fool, as Orwell’s politics were simply not that simple. In fact, he’d probably have thought that you were an idiot for taking such a simplistic view of his life’s work based on a surface reading of just one (not very good) of his novels, without taking into account all the vast amounts of journalism and the like.

As an alternative, isn’t it about time we started reviving “Kafkaesque” once again? Not in the sense of “turning into a giant insect” or some such, as it is normally used (because, of course, Kafka only ever wrote one thing too, didn’t he?), but in the sense of an overriding sense of unjustified persecution caused by an overweening bureaucratic netherworld, as in The Trial. Because the thing everyone forgets is that, erm… in Ninteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith is actually guilty of the crime he is accused of…

2) Egregious
– Not only making you sound like a reject from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (think I’m behind the times, mentioning an 80s craze? Get with the programme, dude…), but increasingly being used so frequently to describe our dear leaders that it’s pretty much unnecessary to include it these days. Some alternative, more imaginative, and more precise alternatives to this fancy way of saying “very bad” would be most welcome.

Some suggestions to aid us all on our way: nefarious dastards, heinous miscreants, objectionable reprobates… You could even go down the DK route of elaborate compound swear-words (which is at least entertaining most of the time, and – bar when it comes to Polly Toynbee, for whom it would appear he has run out of new insults, so often is she in his sights – imaginitive) – just please avoid this lazy, pompously pretentious short-hand (especially as “bad person” and “egregious” have exactly the same number of letters, so all you’re saving is a space, and actually adding a syllable… Grrr…)

1) Mendacious
– Well and truly deserving the number one slot, this massively overused word (at least, online – when was the last time you heard anyone use it in polite conversation?) would, in the vast majority of cases (especially when referring to our dear government), be far better substituted with the rather stronger “perfidious”. They went far beyond mere lying years ago, and are well down the path towards treachery, leaving a cloud of dust made of broken promises and liberties in their destructive wake.

(More suggestions in the comments, please – I was originally going to go for ten, but am slightly hungover, so can’t be bothered…)


  1. Egregious is much more commonly in usage amongst American lawyers. I had never come across the term until 1998 when I spent a semester on sabbatical at a US university. Suspect mendacious is also mainly from across the water as well, as a term in common usage. They've crept, unnecessarily, into common UK usage.

  2. I particularly dislike 'egregious', with my pedant hat on, because literally it only means 'outstanding' – it can be bad or good.

    the thing everyone forgets is that, erm… in Ninteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith is actually guilty of the crime he is accused of…

    Good point. (This is one of the darker aspects of Brazil, too – by the end of it Sam is quite genuinely guilty of some serious crimes.) The Trial is far more sinister, or far more appropriately sinister – "Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K…"

  3. That's a good list you've got going. Definatley am liking "The Fifth Estate". Will keep it in mind.

  4. Egregious as in "the egregious Jim Hacker"? I believe that was the first time I heard the word.

    While I'm happy to use egregious and mendacious when I'm feeling lazy, I avoid blogosphere wherever possible.

    Fifth estate… has a ring to it.

  5. Pingback: Longrider » Further Thoughts on Libertariansim

  6. "Fifth Estate" for bloggers – excellent. So commenters on blogs become, may I suggest,The Sixth Estate.

  7. Egregious and mendacious are two of my favourite adjectives – but I see your point. Perhaps compound swearwords are the way forward, after all.

    Like “Fifth Estate”, though.

  8. Kafkaesque is so much better than Orwellian, both in meaning and in style, darling.

  9. ..

    absurd thought –

    God of the Universe says

    HAPPY NEW YEAR Infidels!!!

    ignore the threat of Jihad

    just keep sleeping like sheep