It’s time for one of my tirades against tropes, in which I go apoplectic over abuse of the English language, including terms like trope, first-ever and the turning of nouns into verbs, of which my all-time most hated example is journaling. To loosely define this kind of abuse, I’d say they are words or phrases employed primarily to impress others with one’s up-to-the-second hipness factor, in the same class of behavior as name-dropping.
The process seems to be speeding up lately, leading me to wonder if it’s one of the many by-products of living in a world where alternative facts are accepted by one-third of the population. In any case, there are several phrases currently grating on my nerves and my ears, including unpack as in analyze or study; “pushback,” as in to object or protest, and starting every answer to a question with the word So. But the phrase driving me the craziest, today’s winner of most redundant, unnecessary and obnoxious terminology is “going forward.”
Going forward : a totally ridiculous phrase that’s now constantly employed by otherwise respectable news reporters. I haven’t yet seen it in print, but surely it won’t be long. The redundant first-ever made it into newspapers eventually, in place of the perfectly serviceable first and I predict it will one day be scrunched into one word, like many we now take for granted (anytime, anywhere, someday, etc., were each considered two words a hundred plus years ago. It’s the news industry’s mania for saving column inches that’s debased English in this particular way.) But I digress.
Going forward is commonly used thusly: “What do you predict will happen to the Internet without net neutrality going forward?” Can anyone seriously claim those words add anything to the sentence, or have any meaning whatsoever? “What will the presidency be like as we go forward in the Trump Era?” The term means absolutely nothing. It is totally redundant and meaningless.
I’ve given myself heartburn, so I must abruptly bring this tirade to a close. I am going forward now to unpack the meaning of today’s news with all of its tropes. I know readers are bound to give me pushback with the argument that language is a living breathing entity and must continually change. Unfortunately, most of today’s changes are cosmetic, silly, and sometimes offensive; they’re like the constant updates on software programs, designed to make us all crazy. I suppose they figure if they keep us distracted with this bullshit we won’t be pushing back going forward.