language change and slang

What are you doing?

It seems that over time, our language is becoming more forceful, even more aggressive. We talk about ‘getting‘ a cup of coffee instead of ‘having’ one, and we also now ‘do’ things that we used to just ‘visit’.

In the past, it was a bit of a joke to say let’s do lunch, but these days, that’s exactly what we do do. We don’t just have lunch, which suggests a nice quiet, relaxing breaking of bread amongst friends. We do lunch, aggressively and with purpose. There are time constraints, dietary requirements and unspoken protocols on what can and can’t be discussed. We make sure the lunch has no doubt that it’s been done.

It’s the same with holidays. We used to say this summer, I’m going to Egypt to see the pyramids. Now it’s I’m off to Egypt going to do the pyramids. Or I’m going to do South America during my gap year. Do what to it, one wonders?

It seems to be all part of the same problem; the need to do everything as aggressively as possible, just to prove we’ve done it. It’s no longer enough just to go somewhere, we have to be sure we’ve wrung every last vestige of interest out of it, by doing it. (And anyone who thinks they’ve exhausted the possibilities for interest in somewhere by one visit, no matter how aggressively they approach it, is deluding themself.)

It all feels faintly exploitative somehow, to do things and places in that way, but maybe that’s the point; ours is now such a consumerist society that we look at everything, including places and experiences, as things to be devoured. I don’t like it though; I much prefer the it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important school of thought. To get the most out of something, you don’t have to do it to death and you don’t have to prove that you’ve done it.

So I think I’ll stick with seeing the pyramids, travelling South America and having lunch, thank you very much.

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Sharon Creese

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