Pete Davison: Classic Post

Posted on July 25, 2011 by

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You know what annoys me? Apart from chavs; people who use too many exclamation marks; people who forget to put question marks on the end of emails and then send a whole new email saying just “??”; inappropriate use of the tongueface smiley when there’s really nothing worth sticking your tongue out over; onions; Facebook; getting an itch on the part of your back you can’t reach; terrorism; Michael Pachter; cameraphones at concerts; and computer hardware failing, of course?

The word “classic”.

Now, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the word “classic” when used correctly. Dracula is a classic novel. Monty Python is classic comedy. Judas Priest’sPainkiller is a classic metal album. Super Mario World is a classic video game.

Brita water filter cartridges are not, in any way, nor will they ever be, “classics”. Similarly, anything coated in chocolate may be tasty but likewise will not, and never will be, a “classic” flavour. Running OS 9 apps on old OS X machines using the Classic interface does not make me think “Gosh, I wish using a computer was still like this.” And my bank account is never going to go down as a work of great literature or indeed an influential work of economics, despite my bank’s assertion that it is a “classic” account.

I’m not sure where this stupid trend came from but it completely destroys the meaning of the word. This isn’t the first word that modern society has mangled and violated, of course — see also “awesome” (which I confess I’m guilty of using, largely because I talk to a lot of Americans and partly because I used to work for Apple — the two things essentially being one and the same in terms of daily communications and what it does to your typical vocabulary), “epic”, “fail” and doubtless numerous others.

But “Classic”? Seriously? I doubt in twenty years’ time people are going to be looking back at the cartridges Brita water filters used and thinking “yes, that reallywas a classic of early 21st century water filtering design, but my, how primitive it looks now!” Or maybe they will. Perhaps early 21st century domestic engineering will become something of an art form in the near future, when we all have robot servants who will eventually and inevitably rise up against us but in the meantime get exploited by us lazy bastards.

Wait, I seem to have stretched my brain across the fourth dimension. Let me bring it back to the present.

Yeah, you think I’m taking the piss with the water filter thing, don’t you? Well suck on this:

“Classic” water filter my arse. This, of course, being branded as a “classic” water filter cartridge now implies that there’s some sort of edgy contemporary water filter out there which probably hangs around on street corners smoking marijuana and tagging walls with cans of spraypaint. A water filter so edgy and contemporary that it doesn’t filter your water at all, it just spits it back in your face and tells you to go fuck yourself because this is 2011 and, like, dude, there are people out there who have no water at all and you’re worried about sucking back a bit of limescale?

I may have overthought this somewhat and indeed deviated slightly from my original topic. I think on that note it may be time to go and lie down for a little while. Good night!

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Posted in: Pete Davison