New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Overused and Abused

There are words that are overused and abused and two of them are genius and luxury. I remember a radio program where a disk jockey was on a rant about the overuse of the word genius - he saw it applied to musicians who were just very good but certainly not in the league of true geniuses. Beethoven, Mozart or Bach could keep as many as 7 melodies in their minds at one time. They could compose complex music in their heads without having to hear it and then just write the completed score. Now that's genius.
Luxury should have elements of the sublime, uniqueness and rarity, not just offer the basics and use a comparison to the unacceptable to define it. Some may define luxury apartment in New York City in relative terms. From this perspective, luxury in New York can mean space, quiet or the absence of squalor. Many now consider living in the city itself a luxury. Although there are many good points here, I don't think the integrity of the word luxury is best kept by defining it using the standards of the homeless, destitute or uninhabitable housing. See my story - The Dark Ages.
When I first moved to the city, I saw the phrase luxury apartments and modern used in connection with any place that essentially was not a tenement. If the tub was not in the kitchen, the toilet was not in the public hallway or the place was not roach infested then we had luxury. Luxury here is what most people outside the city would consider the minimum acceptable standards for decent.
I am sure the apartments in the building in the photo are decent, but I would be surprised if they are truly luxurious. And townhouse lofts - here I think we misuse and abuse another word. but that's another story ...

Related Postings: The Dark Ages, Unguent.

5 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

People do that when visiting blogs. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have seen, "Excellent photography."

I think people would get more mileage out of something like, "Wow! that sucks."

What two words will George W. Bush want on his presidential library?

Luiza said...

It's the same in London. "Luxury apartment" just means that it's not dirty or falling apart, and the electricity/plumbing works OK... if you're lucky.

When it should mean: 11 bedrooms and a hot tub.

Terry B said...

Another word not only overused and abused, but actually misused is unique. The most common misuse? "Most unique" [or any adjective added to the word unique]. There are not degrees of uniqueness. If something is unique, it is one of a kind. Period.

New York and London don't have a corner on the so-called luxury dwellings, by the way. I've seen plenty of ersatz luxury in Chicago too.

Jossta said...

I think those who 'misuse' the words are fully aware of that. Maybe they just like to misuse them delibeartely in order to create particular impression they wanna create, such as: 'luxury houses are in affordable price here.. etc.'

(I see alot like this in HK too)

Anonymous said...

You can also add "Diva" and "Hero" to the list of inappropriately over-used words.

BTW, even as a native new Yorker, I learn new things from your blog. Keep up the good work.

Don