Zo with the Flo

I had high hopes when I engaged issues recently around a Zoe Williams article in the Guardian interrogating issues around notions of rape in popular culture. And Zoe — what a thinker! — nearly fulfilled those hopes. I nearly had another scintillating sample for my award-winning “Oh My Guardian” series. This is nearly a perfect opening for a sentence of echt Guardianese:

In terms of narrative tropes…

But it should of course have been:

In terms of core narrative tropes…

So near — and yet so far. Still, “In terms of narrative tropes” is pretty darn good, worthy of the Great Gary himself. And it prompted me to interrogate issues around one of the core linguistic enigmas of our day. Here are two graphs from Google nGrams:

In terms of (UK English)

In terms of (US English)

What on earth is going on? Why have ITO usage metrics continued to rise in British English while peaking and falling in American English? This hasn’t happened with other core items of progressive English, like “issues around”:

Issues around (UK English)

Issues around (US English)

And “notions of authenticity”:

Notions of authenticity (UK English)

Notions of authenticity (US English)

And “engagement with” (in its progressive sense):

Engagement with (UK English)

Engagement with (US English)

If those keyly core items of Progressivese are “spiking” so healthily on both sides of the Atlantic, why is the even keylier corer “in terms of” not doing so? At least, I would say ITO is keylier corer, but does the ITO fall in America suggest that it isn’t?

Maybe not. One possibility is that “in terms of” has been depreciated in an influential (and anti-progressive) American manual of style that hasn’t been influential in the UK. However, American speakers have failed to see that the same grounds for rejection apply to “issues around” and so on.

But it’s hard to see why American progressive would take any notice of sensible advice about rejecting ITO. It’s also hard to see why the American drop in “in terms of” shouldn’t have influenced the UK even if this hypothetical style-manual (or arbiter) isn’t influential in the UK.

Something mysterious is going on and more research is plainly needed.

Previously pre-posted:

Septics vs Dirties
Get Your Tox Off
Guardianistas — all posts referencizing this core progressive demographic and their glossocentric performativity

Are U Worthy?

If you’re nagged by doubts as to whether you really are a keyly committed core component of the counter-cultural community, then simply engage issues around the following issues…

1. In terms of “in terms of”, how often do you hear this phantasmagoric phrase in terms of a daily basis?

2. Please hierarchialize the following core components of the counter-cultural icon community in terms of their “in-terms-of”-usage metrics: Will Self, J.G. Ballard, William Burroughs, Alan Moore, Miriam Stimbers, Michael Moorcock, Kathy Acker, Genesis P. Orridge, Alan Ginsberg, Stewart Home, Hubert Selby Jr., Norman Foreman (B.A.). (I.e., if you think Foreman uses “in terms of” most in terms of usage metrics, put him first; if you think Acker uses it second-most, put her second; etc.)

3. Engage issues around 1 and 2 again, replacing “in terms of” with “prior to”…

4. Engage issues around 1 and 2 again, replacing “in terms of” with “issues around”……

5. Engage issues around 1 and 2 again, replacing “in terms of” with “Vote Corbyn”………

Once you’ve engaged issues around the above issues, email your answers to Evaluator!@NakedKrunch and you should have your doubts laid to rest within 23 working days…

Previously pre-posted on Overlord of the Über-Feral…

Les Sez
Don’t Do Dot…
Metricizing Michael…
Terminal Breach
More Termination…

Fiat Flux

Q. How many Guardianistas does it take to change a light-bulb?

A. In terms of an initial / preliminary response around this obviously loaded question, I’d like to begin by problematicizing the notion that it is possible to erect an overt illuminational hierarchy whereby notions of “light” are privileged over notions of “darkness” through deployment of an “objective” and/or “value-free” modality of environmental interrogation via soi disant “sensory” channels. Next, it will (of course) be vital to undertake an in-depth consultation-exercise / impact-assessment with any and all vulnerable minority-communities of ethnicity, sexuality, gender-fluidity and/or other alternate ontology. We must ensure, on a keyly non-negotiable basis of absolute core non-negotiability, that their “fringe” inputs are prioritized on an on-going basis in terms of the decision-making process taking place around the problematicized notion of “changing” the allegedly “dead” so-called “bulb”. Issues around adequate resourcing of the consultation-exercise / impact-assessment must be addressed as a matter of urgency, with ring-fenced contingencies in place safeguarding provision of all necessary trauma counselling for vulnerable communities and/or individuals adversely impacted on a negative basis by the “bulb”-transitioning procedure and/or (indeed) the consultation-exercise / impact-assessment it/them/self/ves. Furthermore…

Septics vs Dirties

Some interesting patterns at Google’s Ngram Viewer (please follow the links to see the original images with further statistics):

in terms of (American + British English)

in terms of (American + British English)

in terms of (American English)

in terms of (American English)

in terms of (British English)

in terms of (British English)

issues around (American + British English)

issues around (American + British English)

issues around (American English)

issues around (American English)

issues around (British English)

issues around (British English)

Previously pre-posted (please peruse):

Titus Graun
Reds under the Thread