Kathleen Parker: Things better left unsaid

BY KATHLEEN PARKER Published: December 28, 2012
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'Tis the season when columnists write mea culpas, make predictions and list their resolutions.

Since my culpas are too vast for this tiny space, my predictions best in retrospect and my resolutions inevitably ignored, I thought I'd list a few resolutions for the rest of the world. These, too, are likely to be ignored, but I'll feel better getting a few things off my chest.

Herewith, what annoys me most:

Hot.

Can we please shelve this awful word as used by adults to refer to others? What happened to “attractive” or “fascinating”? If you're 18 or younger, I suppose one can be forgiven for recognizing a person of interest in terms of hotness, but nothing is less attractive than adult men and women appraising others as “hot” (or not) at a certain age, which should be about the time one is old enough to vote.

In a related matter, let's not …

Man up.

How many times during recent elections have we heard candidates refer to others' need to “man up”? This was especially jarring when women used the term to refer to their male opponents, as when Nevada Republican Sharron Angle told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to man up during a debate.

In an ad, Colorado Republican Jane Nordon said her primary opponent for the U.S. Senate, Ken Buck, should be “man enough” to do his own campaign dirty work.

And so on.

What comparable insult might men bestow on women? “Woman up” has no parallel meaning, but one can imagine that challenging a woman's “womanhood,” whatever that might mean (fertility? femininity?), would not go over well.

Buck did manage to produce a weak rejoinder, urging voters to choose him because “I don't wear high heels.”

OK, well, this is cutting right to the core of voter concerns. It is little wonder that Coloradoans decided to legalize pot. How else to get through such mind-boggling debate?

And little wonder young Americans end all their sentences with question marks. No list would be complete without mention of the annoying habit of the young to state declarative sentences as queries. Though not new, this tic has become so commonplace that one worries it may have become permanently entrenched in the language.