Cliché? And So?

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Watching telly: a visual cliché?

I’ve had a good run this week of half-catching interesting items on BBC Radio 4, reflecting on them for a few seconds, and then promptly forgetting about when and where I heard the item, and what the subject of discussion was.

It’s at times like that I should be using the voice memo feature on my phone to record my thoughts, but I’m usually either driving or the phone is hiding somewhere switched on silent mode.

Luckily in a blinding flash today I remembered the interesting discussion from a couple of days ago about jargon and cliché, and which was clearly a blog post-in-waiting.

Because I have to admit to a guilty liking for cliché. Or, put another way, clichés don’t disturb my equilibrium to any marked degree, and I am quite happy to employ them in my rush and enthusiasm to commit to writing my reflections and thoughts on Life and Art.

Jargon is different. I detest jargon. I haven’t looked up the definition of either, and whether one is a subset of the other, but jargon has something jarringly irritating about it in a way that warm fuzzy comfortable cliché does not.

Jargon smacks of corporate strut, mindless bureaucracy, show without substance, power games and superficiality. It’s employed by those wanting to conform, be part of the group, wanting to impress with their grasp of current catch-phrases.

In contrast, cliché may be unthinking, automatic, as comfy as a well-worn slipper, but it is often expressing a time-worn truth and is part of the established fabric of daily language. And for that, I can be very forgiving. At least, with casual, spontaneous and informal non-professional writing.

Of course, works full of written and visual clichés are not going to set the world alight, win prizes, or shed new light(!) on life. But I can live with them.

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2 responses to Cliché? And So?

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