Petition to Ban the Word “Amusing”…

This is not important. This is a pet hate. But it is a pet hate of pitbull proportions. The word “amusing” is used in two senses: to damn with faint praise, in which case it is slimily passive aggressive, and to express one’s contempt for the thought and behaviour of one’s rhetorical opponents. People who employ it thus will not admit to feeling contempt, however, or disgust, or anger, or offence, or any feeling at all, because they wish to paint themselves as being serenely, cynically above the average earnest and emotional human being. In fact, they are just smug, sounding less like an argumentative genius than a bad Bond villain.

About bsixsmith

I am a writer of stories and poems - published by Every Day Fiction, The London Journal of Fiction, 365 Tomorrows and Det Poetiske Bureau - and a columnist for Quillette, Areo and Bombs & Dollars.
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2 Responses to Petition to Ban the Word “Amusing”…

  1. Whyaxye says:

    This use of “amusing” has been going for quite some time. There is a character in C.P. Snow’s 1951 novel “The Masters” called Chrystal who uses it as a term of disapproval throughout. Whoever thwarts his academic power-brokering and deal-making, unintentionally or out of stupidity, is “amusing”.

    Is there a famous modern user of the term in this way, or is it something that you have heard in private a few times too often?


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