BY MICHAEL MUSTO | I’m not being alarmist when I tell you that an overabundance of clichés is destroying our culture and if we don’t stop it, we’re all going to become avocado toast. I implore you all to stop parroting something just because you saw it on Twitter. Don’t echo a phrase just because you heard someone say it in a TikTok video. Be original! For starters, kindly stay away from the following 200 worst clichés of all—including not just words, but activities too. And I even happen to like some of these words and actions; It’s just that they have become as wildly overused as the expression “wildly overused.” Here goes:
Ahead of my skis
“Almost” is doing a lot of work here.
An armed society is a polite society.
Appreciated x 10
Because of course.
Be the change.
Biden crime family
Big d*ck energy/Small d*ck energy
Biological man (meant to disparage trans women)
Both things can be true.
But it gets even worse…
Chess vs. checkers
Civil War! (Said by people who have no idea that they lost the last one)
Clown (used as a putdown. Leave clowns alone!)
Cookie licker/elbow licker/window licker
The court of public opinion
Cultural wedge issue
Doesn’t pass the smell test.
Doing the lord’s work
Dusty (meaning ugly or old)
Elites (usually said derisively by Republicans who went to Harvard, thanks to daddy)
Every accusation is a confession.
Fani Willis [or whoever] didn’t come here to play!
Follow your bliss.
For the win!
Fuck around, find out. (Also: We’re entering the “finding out” phase.)
A functioning democracy
Gin up his base
Go woke, go broke.
Good on you!
Have a blessed day. (i.e., Fuck off!)
Hijacked the conversation
If you only watch one video all day, let it be this one.
I just snort-laughed.
Illegal (used to signify things that are not only perfectly legal, but sensible too. As in “Mike Pence’s illegal certification of the election”)
I’ll jump off that bridge when I get to it.
I’ll see myself out.
I’ll take “Things That Never Happened” for $200, Alex.
I’ma pass on that.
I’m old enough to remember when…
I never thought leopards would eat MY face.
IYKYK (“If you know, you know.”)
Just asking questions
Ketchup on the wall
Knives in a gun fight
Liberty, or freedom (always really meaning “MY liberty at the expense of yours”)
Make no mistake about it.
Manufactured talking point
Mass shootings are the price we pay for freedom.
More of this, please.
A new generation
Not all heroes wear capes.
Not the obituary I wanted to read today.
(For example, if you post something about Trump’s corruption, some idiot will inevitably reply, “Now do Hunter Biden.”)
Of all the things that didn’t happen, this didn’t happen the most.
Perfect phone call
Pick a lane.
Pictures or it didn’t happen.
Play silly games, win silly prizes.
Prebuttal (as in a pre-emptive, self-glorifying gripe you post before your failed TV appearance airs)
Raise your hand if….
Ride or die
Right-winger (when they really mean “extremist” or “domestic terrorist”)
Ronny Jackson was not drinking.
Say it loud for the people in the back.
Second amendment rights
She won’t sleep with you.
Sit the fuck down.
So much winning.
Sounding the death knell for…
Sounds like a plan.
Storyteller (instead of filmmaker)
Taking the temperature of the room
That being said…
That’s not how this works.
The grift is real.
The hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug. (Also: Cruelty is the point.)
The “law and order party”!
The price of gas…blah, blah blah.
There is no bottom.
There’s no hate quite like Christian love.
This is how it’s done.
This is not the “gotcha” you think it is.
This one hurts.
(Some idiot posts something like “The DOJ should not be weaponizing the government,” only to have a liberal commentator dig up an old “Lock her up!” tweet of the idiot’s and repost it, saying, “This you?” Actually, I happen to love this particular cliché, so let’s keep doing it.)
Torches (to mean mocks or brings down)
A true force of nature
Try that in a small town.
Two-tiered justice system (It definitely exists, just not in the way the users of this phrase claim.)
Unconstitutional (See “illegal,” above.)
Wait till the end. (And then, of course, nothing really happens. Just like in life.)
We have a winner.
What about Jared Kushner getting two billion from the Saudis? (I totally agree, but this whataboutism becomes tiresome when it’s trotted out as the answer to absolutely everything. As in, “Ashton Kutcher shouldn’t have written that letter defending Danny Masterson.” “Yeah, but what about Jared Kushner getting two billion from the Saudis?”)
What could go wrong?
“When someone shows you who they are….,” blah blah blah—Maya Angelou
Where is Pete Buttigieg? (Or “Where is Hunter?” –or fill in any name of someone who has nothing to do with whatever’s being discussed.)
Where’s the lie?
Window of opportunity
Woke mind virus
Working harder than Kari Lake’s filter
You ate that!
You don’t negotiate with terrorists.
You know who WASN’T indicted today? Hillary Clinton.
As for general societal trends, I hereby decree that the following ones are worn out and must cease immediately because they’re—everybody now—wildly overused:
Comparing aging stars to each other, always women. (“She should be aging more like that other one.”)
Dumb abbreviations. Something like “FWIW” takes the reader five minutes to figure out, when you could have just said “for what it’s worth.” The above-mentioned “IYKYK” is another irritating example. You know?
Referencing “the Holocaust” at the drop of a hat, in a way that is incredibly trivializing and dumb. (As in, “The price of vegan ice cream went up. It’s like the Holocaust!”)
Pandering for likes with obvious statements. (“If you think Donald Trump is a pos, then like and retweet this tweet!”)
Parents torturing their kids with that light-up toy cactus that gyrates and emulates the baby’s sounds, just to get a video of the baby screaming and crying about it.
Posting your Wordle scores
Commenting on a Facebook-posted review of mine, “Did you like it?” CLICK ON THE DAMNED LINK!
Posting a photo of yourself holding a Playbill, with a brilliant caption like “About to see Lion King! Excited!” WHO THE F**K CARES?
Putting a plug for something you’re involved in as a comment on a thread that has absolutely zero to do with it! Thread: “Here’s a photo of me and Musto having lunch. What fun.” Comment: “Make Me Famous is screening this Sunday at 3:15 PM at New Plaza Cinemas.”
Reposting an outrageous statement from a famous person—and expressing utter horror over it–without bothering to notice that it’s from a parody account.
Continuing to leave lame comment after lame comment on the same person’s posts every single day, even though the person has never once “liked” the comments or replied to them. Get the hint!!!
Continuing to use that ancient Mariah Carey gif (“I don’t know her”). Really? Will you next be bringing back “Leave Britney alone!”?
Michael Musto is a columnist, pop cultural and political pundit, NYC nightlife chronicler, author, and the go-to gossip responsible for the long-running (1984-2013) Village Voice column, “La Dolce Musto.” His work appears on this website as well as Queerty.com and thedailybeast.com, and he is writing for the new Village Voice, which made its debut in April of 2021. Follow Musto on Instagram, via @michaelmusto.
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