We all have our most maddening moronic media catch phrases. Mine used to be football announcers talking about a running back's "forward progress" being stopped at, say, the thirty-five yard line.
Forward progress isn't simply a sports cliché. It's more than mere redundancy. It's gibberish.
Is it possible to have backward progress? Is it possible to have forward regress? No, no, and no more than it is possible to have access egress.
Each word actually means something distinct. To make your living using words, then to treat them as if they are as empty as the foam on a stadium beer cup, is a form of fraud. It's also an intellectual assault on listeners.
Such language crimes have their counterparts in the political attachment of the descriptor "progress" to all ideas, no matter how retrograde or crack-headed that can be given the illusory attribute of "forward" movement from the past. Forward is the assumption. Progress is the tautology. It used to drive me crazy.
In recent months, I've found a fresh source of spluttering. It's the mindless use of the word "aging" not by heavy-forehead sports announcers, but by print journalists who have the time, and should have the means, to respect the essence of their craft: language.
Aging is ubiquitous. Mr. X is an "aging" politician. Ms. Y is an "aging" singer. Someone else is an "aging" financial wizard.
News flash for the illiterati: we are all aging. We are all aging at the same rate. An 18-minute-old newborn does not live by different clock from an 81-year-old Alzheimer's patient. If we are not aging, we are dead. That is the binary law of existence. (Even so, our cadavers continue aging in the grave though we are happily in Heaven at one for eternity with the Beatific Vision.)
What's really meant by "aging" is old. Or sick. Or disabled. Or wrinkled, grey-haired, liver-spotted . . . take your pick.
The imprecision and abstraction are objectionable far beyond their malodorous, hypocritical, half-hearted euphemism, however. They are redolent of a deep and dangerous antipathy toward life itself, and of a mad refusal to return to reality from the horrid propaganda of the so-called "youth movement" that has bedeviled us these past 50 years.
A sampler of this malevolent idiocy appears in today's Globe and Mail where guest columnist Gordon Gibson serves up the resurrection of the federal Liberal Party on a bed of "youth movement" traif. The Liberals must "focus on the young (who are the future) instead of the old (who are the past but have the votes)" Gibson advises those rebuilding the party of Laurier and Mackenzie King.
Empirically, this is plain wrong. With Canadians aborting a million children a decade, the future clearly is not with the young. Their ranks are too viciously depleted, paradoxically, by the ethos of the very youth culture mania that insists no sexual urge must ever go unrelieved. Nor are the old the past. They are very much this country's future, albeit in the colour and shape of the demographic mushroom cloud hanging over our heads.
That is the forward progress to which progressives such as Mr. Gibson and his ilk have doomed us. It is a gibberish vision based, above all, on emptying all language of any meaning. Until we get to Heaven, we'll just have to age with it together.