Amazing Decadence

Okay, while I’m on a roll here, after grousing about “you guys,” let me grouse about something else.

Since I’ve been recovering from heart surgery, I have, unfortunately, way too much time to watch TV.  And there are a couple of words that have been popping up quite a bit recently.  One is the word “amazing.”  Now, there’s nothing wrong with that word if it’s used to describe something that is, well, amazing.  But more and more, it’s used to describe something that the person who’s using the word likes or loves.  Frequently, a mom will say something like, “… and I have three amazing kids.”  Okay, to you, maybe they’re amazing.  To me, they’re kids.  On a commercial for some piece of exercise equipment, a guy said, “…and now, I feel amazing!”    Think about that for a second:  “I feel amazing”???  He feels as though he’s running around amazing people with how he feels?

So now, “amazing” goes the way of “awesome.”  A perfectly good word, which means something specific, reduced to being, essentially, meaningless.   I don’t know if you’ve noticed the amazing proliferation of “amazing,” but if you haven’t, you’ll be amazed.  It comes up amazingly often.  Listen for it.  You’ll be amazed.

And the other word to which I would like to call your attention is “decadent.”  Decadent is defined as  1. characterized by decay or decline, as in being self-indulgent or morally corrupt  2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) belonging to a period of decline in artistic lists these synonyms: debased, debauched, decaying, declining, degenerate, degraded, depraved, dissolute, effete, evil, gone bad, gone to the dogs, immoral, lost, moribund, overripe, perverted, wanton, wicked



But advertising copywriters seem to think it means “yummy.”  More precisely, they seem to think it means “yummy” primarily when they’re describing foods that  are not as yummy as they’d like you to think they are.  Fat-free yogurt, for example.  You’re likely to hear about all the “decadent” flavors available.  Yup, blueberry yogurt’s right up there with a Roman Bacchanalia when it comes to yummy.  And that new apple turnover yogurt is really depraved and debauched.

Not decadent

The first thousand or so times I heard “decadent” in a commercial, I think the copywriter knew exactly what it meant. And it was said in such a way that it was clear it meant “sinfully delicious.”  And the voiceover announcer — usually female — added a touch of lasciviousness that made it work.  But now, I really think if you asked the copywriter for some of these commercials what they thought the word “decadent” meant, they’d tell you it meant “yummy.”  </curmudgeon>

Have an amazing day!


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