Very often a new word or phrase comes into the english language in common use. ‘Sexed up’ is a phrase that was used to refer to the Iraq report on its weapons; where it was overplayed about the weapons capacity of the country (2003). In 1993, or was it 1999, the phrase ‘Institutional Racism’ was used to refer to the police’s conduct of the Stephen Lawrence case; of a black teenager who was murdered by a gang.
Yesterday came out a statement from the Chancellor who said that he was aware people were “pissed off” at the conduct of the labour government. “Pissed off” is a very interesting expression. In the United States, its’ a fairly normal, or if anything, regular phrase. It is a little rude but only in the sort of way that you can’t say it in children’s cartoons, but you can say it on Friends. In the UK, “pissed off” enjoys a more sever status. Not as extreme as “fuck” or “shit”, but above “damn”, and just below “bastard” (bastard is allowed to be said in most US television, I note).
On the way to seeing Sinistre, I passed a few shops; generally, shops and adverts tend to reflect what is, or has become commonplace language. I’ve talked about in the past, of the phrase “for sure” which has just suddenly appeared as commonplace among middle class upper educated people. I find the term “douchebag” quite an interesting one. I’ve learned its meaning from Robot Chicken and Family Guy. There was a sketch where Stewie says something like, they ruined [x] like how douchebags ruined the guitar, and what followed totally encapsulated what a douchebag was, I suppose the UK equivalent (although not structly equivalent logically) is the stereotypical Jack Wills consumer of clothing, the upper-class sonofabitch who wears a tracksuit while still looking posh. perhaps in decades of the future people will parody such a look. I hope no one ever parodies how I look!
Anyhoo, so the one phrase that I saw on the shop was “credit crunch”. I listen to a lot of BBC radio, watch a lot of BBC news, and lots of the stories are (sadly) the same; the difficult economy, the food situation and the ‘biofuel’ argument vs. india’s growing economy as reasons for the latter. Okay, so people seem to be using the phrase “credit crunch” to describe the economy situation. One the one hand I thought it apt because since everyone is using the same word to refer, everyone understands what we mean by this phrase. However, I am aware that the USA loan situation, or the situation with UK banks are hardly the prime reason for the economic situation; other factors come into play:
- people betting on the stock market for how inflation goes (quite self-indulgent in a way),
- Employment oursourcing
- The growing economies of asia
- (aforementioned) energy/food/resource management issues
- The initial explosion of consumer spending, which is now slowing down
The point I am making is, that “Credit Crunch” isn’t the best word to use to describe this period, “depression” is a bit of a better one!! I looked up on wikipedia what “credit crunch” refers to, and it says that it describes a shortfall when many debts are taken which leads to high interest rates and changes in lending activity. Fine, that’s a good word to use in the case of the subprime instance. But for the economic situation genera? No its not. But the more people use it, the more people use it in adverts, television etc. The more it just becomes accepted.
Seeing a word that is new on an advert reminds me of how commonplace a new thing can become. I am immediately reminded of the dotcoms that became big during the late 90’s and early 00’s. How there were so many advertisements for (now defunct) dotcoms! So, that’s another instance of new phrases that we can understand in our public consciousness. “Ebay it”, one may say, or “I got it from Amazon”.