Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Does Anyone Know What 'Literally' Means Anymore?

Is now a good time to rant about something of genuine non-importance? I wasn't sure. Based on my father's example growing up I am left to assume that the best times are during the 6 o'clock news and 'when-it-pertains-to-nothing-else,' but I wanted a second opinion. Too bad I can't hear you advising me not to continue. So, onward.

Recently, I have made an observation that irks me immensely. So immensely does it irk me that I would gladly have forfeited the original observation just to be rid of the damn thing altogether!  I don't know if this is the fault of texting, or instant messenging or computers or Al Gore but I have noticed that people--mostly young adults--seem to have lost the original translation of the word, "literally." 

Now, I'm going to make up some history to explain my point.

You see back in uh... Egyptian times the word 'literally' meant something to the effect of, 'in a very strict sense.'  This way, when the little servant dude ran into the Pharaoh's court, bowed, struck his breast and declared--

"Great Pharaoh, reign forever! Your chariot has been trampled under the hoofs of a thousand pre-historic elephants! It has literally been flattened into a single piece of iron no longer fit for your royal transport!"

 --Pharaoh, time-conscious prude that he was,  didn't need to be all like, 

"Whaaaa? Like fo really, really?"

Cause he knew servant dude wasn't playing around. He said literally, which back then meant 'I have already qualified what I said, please continue with the appropriate emotional response.'

Today, in an effort to further waste my precious time, the people who most frequently use the word 'literally' use it with the expectation that I then should have to inquire if by 'literally' they meant 'lit-er-ally' or nothing of the sort. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant. 

See what I did there? Precisely. Now, I rant:

If you, the speaker take it upon yourself to use the word 'literally,' why is it then MY responsibility to follow up to make sure that I understand correctly what YOU meant to say? This is ridiculous. Widen your vocabulary. The movie didn't make you literally cry your eyes out. You still have your eyeballs and they are in your head. The movie made you cry a lot -- say that! This way I can go back to being genuinely enthralled in a story that utilizes a word that in short means 'THIS  ACTUALLY HAPPENED." Otherwise you are robbing me of the visuals that inevitably accompany your statement.  

Therefore, the next time someone yells,

"Oh my god, I was so mad, I like literally-shit a brick!" 

You ask that jackass for proof.  


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Netflix Killed the Video Store

There are a number of potential blog entries that float through my mind on a daily basis. The majority of them go untapped on account of sheer laziness really. It's almost a shame that the initiating spark for unsung blog posts such as, "You--Tiny Human, to Whom do you Belong?" are given into my hands to be delivered to the world at large. But alas, a few nuggets make it through. I happened upon one such nugget on the bus today as we passed a BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO. 

Now, aside from the fact that this particular location failed to replace the bulbs on a few crucial letters (the storefront actually read _LO_K_USTER __DEO) there was no real reason for it to catch my attention other than the fact that seeing it, sad and vacant as it was, made me realize that as a contemporary American consumer--the 'video store' is simply a concept I have no more use for. Commence bulldozing.

Be honest, who uses video stores? Most people who still have video store memberships are busy moving to different counties to escape the criminal fines. Let's face it, there just aren't reasons to drive to a building to rent a movie when society has declared, "Packaging be damned! Just gimme the square paper thingy with the clear plastic circle."

And I'm not saying this is anything new. I, in no way, was an early-adaptor to the online movie rental phenomenon. Yet, just a few short weeks of Netflix enrollment has restructured the entire way in which I come into contact with post-theater flicks with enthusiasm that far exceeded my expectations. "What's that Inner-Self? Time to check the mail? The movies I cued up yesterday are here? O delightful morn!" 

It's magic, I tell you. Maybe evil magic.

But some critics (read as, unbelievers drowning in a sea of instant-gratification filth) will complain that it's too long to wait 24-hours to get a movie. What if you are called upon to entertain a group of unannounced slackers? You can't tell them they have to wait until tomorrow to see '27 Pounds' or whatever that new Will Smith tear-jerker is. Certainly, now one must rush to a Hollywood Movie Emporium or Mr. Filmtastic, right? Incorrect, again. While Netflix holds the 'video store' in a headlock, Redbox goes straight for the nads. 

Tough, scrappy and available everywhere, the Redbox movie rental kiosk sniffs twice, wipes its upper lip and asks, "You want ya movie? I got ya movie right heera." 

Though rapidly becoming a common watering hole for lowlifes and change collectors, Redbox offers the selection and the immediacy demanded by the quick-fix movie consumer. Besides, you can forgive yourself for rushing into the world's worst movie rental decision EVER if you only paid a dollar (a day) for it. 

Okay, so here's the last straw. The last reason America needs video stores. Video games! Surely, the three racks of previously scratched copies of Extreme Tournament Golf will keep them coming back for more, right? O dagger in my breast! I guess now would be a bad time to bring up Game Fly dot com, where you can even rent the gaming console?

Your honor, I rest my case. 

There you have it folks, a solid three-point defense. Netflix killed the Video Store. Now, give it a slap on the wrist and send it off to play with iTunes.