Top 10 Most Fatuous Phrases—Number One: "Battling my demons"...
November 02, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Here’s Rod Liddle’s list from The Spectator:

1. Battling my demons

2. Vulnerable

3. Diversity

4. Denier

5. Classic

6. Wrong side of history

7. Bravely fighting cancer

8. Let me absolutely clear about this, Evan…

9. Vibrant

10. Community

You can read his commentary on each here.

I’d add all the variations on “comfort” and “climate” you see in this century. Back in 2004, I visited the Claremont Colleges to report on a campus hate hoax:

… the growing paranoia at some of the other Claremont colleges, where the staffs nurture an obsession among its “diverse” students (i.e., everybody except non-Hispanic heterosexual gentile white males) to navel-gaze over whether or not they feel “comfortable with the climate.”

It was 72 degrees with a gentle breeze blowing, so the climate seemed okay to me, but a flier on Pitzer bulletin boards made the local idée fixe a little clearer: “Diversity and Campus Climate: You are invited to participate in a discussion about campus climate.”

Another advertised: “Queer Dreams and Nightmares: What is it like to be a student at the Claremont Colleges? Student panel discussion addressing the current climate at the 5-Cs, both academically and socially.” This was part of a conference entitled, with that profusion of punctuation that is the secret fraternity handshake of post-modern academics, “[Re]Defining a Queer Space at the Claremont Colleges.”

The university’s main concern appears to be to make students feel “comfortable,” a word that reappears constantly in Claremont publications despite the obvious hopelessness of the project. The only way to make 19-year-olds feel comfortable is to wait 30 years while they sag into their well-padded maturities. Right now, they are teenagers and their surging hormones have far more important emotions for them to feel than comfort. Adults, however, who make careers out of encouraging kids to mold permanently self-pitying identities around their transient social discomforts have much to answer for.