November 23, 2014

Not happy about the banal wisdom of Pinterest.

"Here you go, Internet: more examples of Bad Advice I Read on Pinterest — from the questionable to the facepalm-worthy."

Many more at the link. I chose those 2 because they worked on me... in spite of my defenses!


lgv said...

I can see why #2 would work on a religious person, but #1 is so bad. It clearly violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Or it squeezing someone so hard might be considered a micro-aggression. Have they not heard of humpty-dumpty?

Meade said...

"love you to death"


m stone said...

Kate Brannen and Lauren O'Brien need to team up.

Comedy at it's best.

Gotta love the subject-verb agreement comment.

Gabriel said...

It's easy to make fun, and I do it too, but lots of people aren't very good with words, but are trying; it's hard in a post-literacy culture, and maybe kinder to give them credit for their intentions.

I remember seeing in a hotel a sign saying, "the satisfaction of our customers is the foundation of our progress".

Progress is forward motion, and foundation is a large mass of concrete that helps a building to stay put. The sentence is literally nonsense because the people who wrote it and the people who approved it are not reading it; they are buzzing with happy feelings created by vaguely positive words.

This is why people mix metaphors; they are not thinking about the words they use, just using words that other people have been using.

Orwell in Politics and the English Language:

A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Both maudlin nonsense. No wonder you voted for Obama.

Dan in Philly said...

My one sentence advice:
Finding a good philosophy of life isn't something you can do with a pithy one sentence quote.

Gabriel said...

@Igv:but #1 is so bad. It clearly violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

No, it doesn't, if you're squeezing something you are doing work to it.

Broken pieces can be squeezed back together, as any kid who's worked with play-doh knows, but fewer people have worked with Johanssen blocks or seen cold welding.

Gabriel said...

Orwell's essay is deservedly famous but I can't resist quoting another bit here:

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier -- even quicker, once you have the habit -- to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry -- when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech -- it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash -- as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot -- it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking.

Laslo Spatula said...

The classic:

Oliver Barrett IV: Jenny... I'm sorry.

Jennifer Cavalieri: Don't. Love means never having to say you're sorry.

Oliver Barrett IV: Then I'm not sorry I came in your mouth.

I may have added the last line.

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

Is Laslo Betamax?

MayBee said...

Ha ha ha!
I see those bad advice things posted on Pinterest and they amuse me so much.

I see in her first collection she included my personal favorite, Johnny Depp telling us about dumping the person you are with if you happen to find someone else who you think you might love.
I always think I know too much about the girl who re-pins that one.

chickelit said...

@MayBee: It's not unlikely that this is demonstrably true. A burgher flipping tool is not unlike a jackboot leaving traces in the sands of time.

David said...

Enjoyed your comments, Gabriel.

Laslo Spatula said...

One Day
Someone is
Going to
Hug You So
Tight, That
You Can't Even
Breathe or
They Will Then
Have Sex with
Your Corpse
and Leave your
Body in a
Shallow Grave
and it Will
Be Peaceful.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

You Complete
My Collection
of Skulls.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Without You
I Am Nothing
Until I Find
Someone Who
Looks Like
And Then
I'll Make
Her Sorry
Like You
Should Be
It Will All Be
Your Fault.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I Cannot
Stop Thinking
About You
Even Though I
Buried You
a Week Ago;
That Is Why I
Your Scalp.

I am Laslo.

Freeman Hunt said...

There is a woman in my feed who is always posting pictures of beautiful women giving the finger to the world. These are always emblazoned with quotes by various luminaries on the importance of going one's own way. (Confucius is notably absent.) I think her intended message can be conveyed most tersely as, "F*** all y'all!"

Laslo Spatula said...

Imagine a Man
So Focused on the Voices
In his Head
That the Only Reason
He Looked Up to
See You
Is Because the Voices Said
"That's Her"
And now You Are in
the Trunk of a Car.

I am Laslo.

Christy said...

#1 - Why women stay with abusive spouses.

#2 - Why women stick years in a marriage ignored and alone, except for babies who are eventually drowned in the bathtub.

Laslo Spatula said...

My Love,
I Am Truly
I Did Not Mean
to Gouge Out
Your Eyes
Until After
You Were Dead.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

When You Are
Feeling Alone
Remember That
You Are a Part of
That is Why
I Buried Pieces
of You
in Several Different

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I Understand
That You Do Not
Want To See
Remember that
Anal Sex
Can Only Be
By the Living.

I am Laslo.

MathMom said...

These two work on me, because these two happened to me! :o)

MathMom said...

...not the way Laslo is making them work, though...

Cracking me up, Laslo!

Laslo Spatula said...

Out of
All of the
Women in the
I Chose You
Out of
All of the
Women I have
I Liked You
I Still Have
Your Underwear.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Just Because
You Left Me
Doesn't Mean That
I Have Left You:
One Day
You Will Have
a Flat Tire
And Need a
And I Will Be
The Only One

I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

If the guy's focused on a supernatural being and then he looks UP to see you, isn't he likelier to be a Satanist?

Laslo Spatula said...

I am Sorry
I Did Not Follow
My Part of Our
Suicide Pact.
After Watching You
Thrash and
Foam and
I Decided
I Want to
I Know
You Would
Be Happy
for Me.

I am Laslo.

William said...

I see #1 as a pitch for a remake of the Anaconda movie. In the recent Godzilla remake, they made him a far more sympathetic monster, and, right from the beginning, Frankenstein was looking for love.. That's the secret of a good monster movie--give the monster a human dimension.----. I see Jennifer Lopez as a herpetologist performing an experiment that goes horribly wrong during a thunderstorm., As a result during moments of emotional stress, she suddenly transforms into an anaconda. Her father had abandoned the family when she was a young girl, Subsequently she became very clingy and needy with her boyfriends as an adult......Daniel Radcliffe plays her young lab assistant. He tries to leave work early one night to be with his girl friend. This triggers he anaconda reaction. She squeezes him so hard the eyes bug out of his head and then swallows him whole. She has no memory of the incident. The only evidence of the crime is one of Daniel's eyeballs that is left on the floor. Matthew McConnaughey plays a detective investigating the disappearance. He discovers the eyeball and asks her some hard questions about Daniel's disappearance and Nietzsche's theory of the eternal return. This triggers another anaconda response but, while Matthew is being squeezed, he says that he loves her anyway. This act of love reverses the anaconda effect, and they go on to live happily ever after--until the first kid leaves for college.

Laslo Spatula said...

My Love for You
Is Overflowing
and That is Why
I Overflowed
with Your Sister.
I Have Accepted

I am Laslo.

Carol said...

Is Pinterest where these awful Daily Affirmation-type graphics come from on Facebook?

Laslo, you should start circulating yours. I'll gladly share.

Achilles said...

Way better than pinterest.

n.n said...

Pleasant perceptions.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well I won't say I'm focused on God--being a lapsed Methdist and all that. But very shortly after I first dated my wife I knew she was the one I wanted. 10 days or less to decide-and it's still working almost 50 years later. I doubt that God whispered in my ear; it was either dumb luck or the single best decision I ever made. And when you're just past your 20th birthday, your decision making skills aren't yet at their peak--so maybe dumb luck?

n.n said...

Skeptical Voter:

There is an underlying order to our universe. Some people classify it as "God", an extra-universal entity, while others classify it as dark or unknown (and likely unknowable within the scientific domain).

Alex said...

I'm pretty sure if you go back to 1900 in magazines you'd find the same maudlin bullshit. Nothing has changed except for the presentation media.

Mark Caplan said...

He heard God say, "That's her."

Steven Pinker would say, "That's her." An all-knowing God would say, "That's she."

Michael K said...

"Laslo, you should start circulating yours."

I agree. We just have to choose a banal image to go with them.

traditionalguy said...

Yes. God is assumed to be the all knowing creator of every life with a Predestined Plan for everyone that includes a good wife with the intelligence to help her man that she was specially designed for.

I can see the Professor believing that spiritual revelation.

CatherineM said...

Ugh. I hate inspirational BS. I also dispise the ubiquitous "Live Laugh Love" crap in way too many homes and in every home decor section in stores.

One of the reasons I stay off Facebook was seeing the inspirational quotes. It may be unfair, but I think less of people (in that moment) who post that stuff, so I would rather not know. It is equivalent to those chain/joke/inspirational emails from 1995 the older folks in my family still forward.

SeanF said...

Gabriel: I remember seeing in a hotel a sign saying, "the satisfaction of our customers is the foundation of our progress".

Progress is forward motion, and foundation is a large mass of concrete that helps a building to stay put.

A foundation is "the basis or groundwork of anything." If you think progress doesn't (or can't) have a foundation, it's you who doesn't know what the words mean.

Gabriel said...

@SeanF:A foundation is "the basis or groundwork of anything."

When used as a metaphor, yes. And your use of "groundwork" as a synonym betrays the metaphor. (What "ground" was "worked" in satisfying customers?)

Even "basis" is a metaphor--the root is of course "base", which is from a Greek word meaning "pedestal". "Foundation" is from Latin for "the bottom".

"Foundation of our progress" is a mixed metaphor, which is my whole point (and Orwell's)--you have forgotten that the word is a metaphor when used that way because you have seen it used that way so often.

Be said...

My best ever relationship advice came from the Koran, 9:11.

stlcdr said...

The internet: demonstrating that people are not very good at a lot of things.

SeanF said...

Gabriel: @SeanF:A foundation is "the basis or groundwork of anything."

When used as a metaphor, yes.

No, not when used as a metaphor. That is the primary definition of the word.

A foundation is what gives something stability and steadiness. It does not (necessarily) imply motionless.