Lexicology of Stupid

I'm no English major, but this type of stuff interests me. Over the last couple years I have heard a lot of comments about the dumbing down of the English language. Many have blamed political spin masters, especially the Bush administration, for reducing important issues into catchphrases. Stephen Colbert and Neil Young have done a good job mocking this recently. They're not the only ones who sum things into simple language. Jason Kottke recently blogged about derivative news headlines. A quick sampling of Google News showed 11 "vows", 7 "urges", 6 "slams", 8 "smacks", and 7 "blasts". So apparently even the "liberal media" bows to the stupid.

On the other hand there is at least one organization that values language, although its pretty unnecessary. Jim Emerson examined the "poetry" of the MPAA's movie ratings in two posts this week. Mission: Impossible III was rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of frenetic violence & menace, disturbing images & some sensuality." It's tough to pick favorites but I like Schindler's List, rated R for "language, some sexuality and actuality violence." The funny part about this is that extra description probably only confuses the parents who are trying to make decisions about what their children watch.

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