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Read On: Buzz phrases have become quite the trend

March 29, 2014|By Ray Richmond

I want you all to know something right off the bat this week, ladies and gentlemen. It's this: While I may eventually leave the Leader and the News-Press, I will never consciously uncouple from you.

You can take that to the bank.

The reason for this rather deep admission is the melancholy I'm feeling this week following the Tuesday announcement that Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, had decided on a "Conscious Uncoupling." Reading between the New Age-y lines, this apparently meant the married couple would be separating.

While it's admirable and refreshing in this time of nastiness and social-media nastiness to declare for all the world to see that you're both good people and don't hate one another, it's the idea that Paltrow would be so post-ironic as to use laughable Malibu-y touchy-feely language while splitting from her spouse.

It got me to thinking…Hey, I've done more than my share of "unconscious coupling" in my time, usually after a few too many cocktails. But conscious uncoupling? Not so much. In my case, the state of California has termed it "divorce" instead.

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I'm also old enough to have done some acoustic coupling. But when that ended badly, you didn't need to reassure America about it.

Why has the "conscious uncoupling" thing drawn such ridicule Gwyneth's way in light of the gravity of what she was revealing? I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact she appears too delicate and perfect, so slender, so effortlessly beautiful, so entitled — in short, so much better than the rest of us. Even her marital splits are considerably deeper and more meaningful than our own. Grrrrr…

Then again, did we expect anything less from a lady who named her daughter Apple?

Being fairly obsessed with buzz terms and the way in which they color our lives, this new term for going your separate ways got me to thinking about the need for a few other new ones that more adequately describe a situation, a condition, an event.

I'm talking about things like…

Grande Canyon: The gulf that separates annoyed people waiting in line at Starbucks from the guy giving way too complex an order, as in, "I'll take a venti latte 2% triple-shot light syrup half-caf with a hint of vine-ripened orange peel."

Cognizant Interior-Digital Uplift: Flipping someone off.

Personal Internal Dialogue: Or what we might call talking to oneself.

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