Stop Being Basic. Stop Saying, "Literally."

Stop Being Basic. Stop Saying, "Literally."

The 80s California Valley Girl has returned in the form of the 2010s Basic, and her filler word of choice is, “literally.”
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We live in a society full of grammar purists who are constantly nagging misusers of the most basic of basic words in the English language... “literally.” It is undeniable that the grammar purists are correct; many times when speakers use the word, "literally," they really mean "figuratively," or "metaphorically." This is a fact of grammar that cannot be argued-- at least, not successfully. We all generally accept this principal even if we don't apply it, but there is an issue that I have with the word, "literally," that extends past the simple misuse of the word.

Even grammar purists overlook what I believe to be an even greater problem than the misuse of, "literally." The issue that I have with this word, is that not only is it misused, but overused. It is the reincarnate of our former overused word of choice, “like.” Much to my horror, the 80s California valley girl has returned in the form of the 2010s basic, and her filler word of choice is, “literally.”

Looking at the origins of basic-ness, one can clearly see the unfortunate evolution of the valley girl into the basic. The strongest indicator by far of this evolutionary fact, is the common linguistic trends as I mentioned. Pointless vocabulary such as the words "literally," and "transparent," work their way into the sentences of individual basics, just as "totally," "like," and more did in the case of valley girls. All of these words are used as crutches-- words spoken in an attempt to make a sentence sound stronger, more interesting, or more intelligent. However, the words don't function in that way. They are really only unnecessary crutches. Probably the most unusual way that the word, "literally," in particular is used, is at the end of a sentence. This makes for incredibly bizarre syntax. Don't use bizarre syntax. Don't use crutch words. Stop being basic. Stop saying "literally."

The counterargument that I hear the most is, "I can say the word as often as I please because I use it correctly." To that, I say...

Yes. You're basic-- and that's undeniable based on the linguistic trends I noted.

Do you want to be basic? If not, you may want to reconsider how you use the word, "literally."

Think about it...

How often do you hear the word, "literally," on a daily basis?

What is the usage ratio of "literally," to any other word?

It is likely that over the course of an average day, you will hear, “literally,” used at least 30 times.

There is no escaping, "literally." You hear it while eating breakfast, when walking to class, when in class, when eating lunch, in the library while studying, in your dorm room through the paper-thin walls, on the TV and all over the internet. I cannot understand why you feel the need to use this word so much. It's more than a simple annoyance. It's like a demon. It follows you wherever you go.

When every other sentence contains a common word, the idea of the sentence in general is lost. For example...

Your speech literally becomes less effective, as it is literally lost in the usage of tautological repetitive diction. Many basics literally claim that using, “literally” literally strengthens their sentence because it literally puts an extra emphasis on what they are literally saying "literally" happened. Literally.

Chances are, you need to reread that paragraph to fully understand what I said. Of course, this example is hugely overly exaggerated for the effect, but regardless, it raises this question:

Do you really need to put an emphasis on what happened?

If it's a genuinely interesting event, there isn't a need for an extra word. Contrary to popular belief, using the word, "literally," does not make the listener to your speech more excited about or more interested in what you're saying.

Whenever you hear a friend use the word, do you get more excited or interested?

Probably not.

Now, please don’t take offense to my opinion. Opinions are subject to disagreement-- But around anyone who is like me and can't stand the word, "literally," please be respectful before they literally explode from your basic-ness.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--7_JdDZaz--/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/1307559915177785960.jpg

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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