Thursday, 9 November 2017

Four-Letter Word

Just how did it happen, exactly? And why?

Ten years ago, when you used the word 'hype' (and you rarely did, because it's one of the most tasteless words in existence), you meant bullshit. You meant crap. You meant overrated rubbish. 

These days, every poor soul with seven followers to their name puts the word in pointless caps, adds a million exclamation marks and, crucially, means something totally opposite. 

This offends me. Nothing screams louder about the sheer insincerity of our times than this four-letter word. 

Ten years ago, you appealed to the content, and thus decried everything that may have looked presentable and well-advertised but had a huge hole inside. Like those albums by Razorlight that were on every wall in London in the summer of 2006 (people actually gave a damn about Razorlight, at some point). These days, you appeal to the shell. Presentation is all that matters and so hype is good since the actual content pales in comparison with the blandest of Razorlight records. 

As Ian McEwan puts it in his latest novel Nutshell, "These are new times. Perhaps they are ancient". The phrasing here is phenomenal. Because 'ancient' doesn't mean 'old'. It means 'primitive'.