Monday, January 13, 2014

Language Virus: When Did We Become So Needy?


Do you know everything you need to know about the Chris Christie scandal? Are you sure? You may want to check, because the Washington Post, for instance, says that there are six names you need to know concerning the affair, which is presumably a subset of the ten things they think you need to know about the scandal in general. Time, however, thinks there are only five names you need to know. But that's still a lot! And that's in addition to all the things the Huffington Post thinks you need to know, and all the things Mediaite thinks you need to know, and the ten things that, according to the New Jersey Star Ledger, you absolutely need to know,

Meanwhile, and you'll forgive me for dropping the whole "adding links" thing, just in the last day, the Star Ledger will also tell you what you need to know about the Denver Broncos, while Forbes is content to tell you what you need to know about identity theft. There are also things you need to know elsewhere (again, all in the last 24 hours) about flipping classic cars, retail data breaches, high cholesterol, buying a condo, your stocks tanking, SSD form factors (??), potholes in West Michigan, audiologists, oil exports, and so, so much more!

And all this time, I didn't think I needed to know about most of that stuff! Thanks, internet news media, for setting me straight.

This cutesy one kind of crept up on me. I think its use has been growing steadily over the past couple of years, but it seems like it has exploded fairly recently. Is it Buzzfeed's fault? Signs strongly point to "yes."

UPDATE: I had to check to see if the once sporadically excellent Talking Points Memo had fallen for the phrase, since they generally fall for every irritating cliché of passing-fancy phrasing, and sure enough! If you think I'm being mean, please consider Josh Marshall's recent discovery and relentless overuse of the word "derp."

7 comments:

postpunkmonk said...

Wha...?!

Michael Strickland said...

Thank you for the language virus alert. I am now readying myself for the assault of The 17 Things You Need to Know Before The Oscars.

John said...

Thank goodness for the media. I think about all the decisions I would have made differently in the last few days if I hadn't known the things I NEED TO KNOW about Chris Christie. Whew!

Lulu, the Dewey Dame said...

List lust. It's all over the 'net.

Angry Parakeet said...

What is this horrible derp thing? It has even progressed to derpster.

spliggd said...

Perhaps it is the sweet call of convenience: meaning summarized and generalized with a promise of only the tiniest of effort as we struggle to make ends meet and 'save time'. Our internet of facts!

Johannes der Taucher said...

Back in my innocent Army days, during the Reagan Sleep era, everyone understood that we would be in the dark, because "Information will be given on a need-to-know basis." Guess that included the collapse of the Evil Empire and the fall of the Berlin Wall -- total surprise to everyone who didn't need to know, including the White House.

We also answered the phones with "Sir! Yes Sir This line is not secure Sir!"