Thursday, February 11, 2010

You, literally, sound like a moron.

I know we usually stick to DIY film distribution ranting and tales of questionable girls we have hooked with at Self Helpless screenings, but I felt the need to address an important issue in today's society for a moment: the rampant incorrect use of the word "literally".

In the hands of millions of strong sixes wearing Ugg boots and black American Apparel yoga pants and dudes with pet names for their abs, this once venerably direct adverb has become nothing more than a contorted synonym for "very".

Some standard misuses of "literally":

- "Oh my god, I literally killed my boyfriend last night." No, you buffoon, you would be in jail if you had literally killed your boyfriend. I believe you meant to say the opposite, that you had figuratively killed your boyfriend, probably by emptying his wallet and sucking off some college hockey player you met in a Chilli's parking lot.

- "It was, literally, like, 4:30 when I called her." There is no way for it to be figuratively 4:30. This is a time, not a fucking metaphor. You do not use literally here because the statement is literal as is. This is redundant and ignorant.

Literally is used, in it's most dynamic form, when it is clarifying the literal implications of a statement which might otherwise easily be mistaken for a metaphorical reference. An example of this type of correct use:

- "He passed to me with three seconds left on the clock and I, literally, dropped the ball. I was so angry." Get it? "Drop the ball" is an oft used metaphor for failing to take care of business in the clutch. In this case the subject did this in both the literal and figurative senses.

Next time you hear some empty headed goon or functionally retarded Britney-clone spewing something like "Oh my god, I literally love cucumbers," be sure to ask them to detail exactly how they consummate this love.