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Time and a Word

January 21st, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

There are a few words that keep cropping up in online conversations and commentary on social media, and newspaper comment pieces, that are not new words, but which seem to appear a lot more than they used to. In fact, I reckon that these words were very rare about ten years ago. It is only a feeling and not backed up by rigorous analysis. I wouldn’t know where to start with rigorous analysis, but I bet some lexicologists working for dictionary publishers have the tools to do it, and I would love to see the results.

The specific words that I am referring to are: grift/grifter, performative, and gaslighting

Is there more grifting, performative behaviour and gaslighting going on (it does feel that way) or is it just that the words have become fashionable of late? It would be really interesting to see statistics of when these words took off. I suspect that Brexit and Covid are responsible for a lot of the gaslighting and grift uses, as they are for so many other things.

Is there more grifting going on, or just more people accusing others of it? Are the accusers pointing the fingers at real grift or are they, ironically, doing a bit of gaslighting? Is it just the sheer amount of online opinions now?

I would also be really interested in a breakdown of how many times the word ‘gaslighting’ is actually being used correctly.

Whatever the reasons and appropriateness, I do feel that the increasing use (overuse?) of these words is actually decreasing their impact as they are moving into the realms of cliche, where words lose their power as they lose their novelty.

I’m sure the increased use of these words is symptomatic of something. I don’t know what, but I’m sure it can’t be good and that, in some way, they are reflecting an increase in the general shittiness of the world, and I’m equally sure there are others that I just can’t think of at the moment. “Culture wars” maybe?

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