Out what the hut?

I fear it’s become a crisis. The pervasive occurrences of language misuse in advertising slogans is epidemic and, to this pseudo linguist, something close to calamitous. Now granted, this developing scourge is one primarily restricted to non-cord-cutting old coots still watching broadcast television and thus remaining subjected to standard 30-second spots (say someone like, I don’t know, me). That makes it no less disconcerting.

What are we talking about here, malapropisms? Portmanteaus? Neologisms? Well, no, not really. Think “Think different” from Apple, for starters. But really, that one was just bad grammar (the adverbial differentLY should’ve been job one, Jobs). But what about “Enjoy better” or “Experience amazing,” where Time Warner and Lexus, respectively, just shove one aggressive, aspirational word next to an indefinite pronoun (I think?) – that’s neither good nor better, let alone amazing. Or Burger King commanding us to “Be your way.” As horrible syntax goes, that one’s a whopper. “How do you cash back?” Chase inquires painfully and “Powering possible” from Barclays, both inspire little confidence that either bank could even properly calculate interest. “Impossible is nothing” is Adidas proving the theory that reversing three words in an established phrase will, as expected, render it meaningless. Hearing CVS declare “Healthier happens together” is enough to make you sick. And in two of the worst lexical lapses, Aria Hotels brags “This is how we Vegas” while Pizza Hut proclaims “Nobody out-pizzas the hut.” Sorry, no amount of neon lights or gloppy toppings can cover up trying to make “Vegas” or “pizza” into a verb.

Food franchises, in fact, seem to be the most frequent offenders: “Happy tastes good” (Dairy Queen), “Feed your happy” (Carl’s Jr.), “Eat fresh” (Subway), and “A taste of welcome” (Ritz) all make me quickly lose my appetite. And lest we forget “Today tastes so good” by KFC; who knew that the colonel had synethesia (the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body – possibly the best description of this ugly mixed-use etymological phenomenon). Ad agencies, perhaps you should think more good.

Parts of speech have become fungible, jargon evolved to junk. So? SO?? Sew buttons. So I guess why not at least celebrate some of history’s biggest nonsense in song titles, a little musical mumbo jumbo, with this Top 40 playlist of pop song gibberish. From Steve Miller’s “Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma” to Slim Harpo’s “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu” and on through “Barabajagal” by Donovan. To borrow a thoughtful line from The Police: “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” is all I want to say to you.

Go ahead, enjoy the tunes, mangle the language, have a good time. But for god’s sake stay off my lawn.