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Awesome!! – A Commentary on our Culture

“Much of modern poetry is written by people with nothing to say and what’s more, …. they have no idea how to say it!”

I am exhausted and increasingly offended by the pervasive use, abuse and bastardization of the word “awesome”.

Awe – various

causing feelings of fear and wonder; a mixed feeling of reverence, fear or wonder, to respect and fear.

Awesome – various

inspiring awe; overwhelming formidable, daunting, dreadful, fearsome, fearful, frightening, horrifying, terrifying, terrible; alarming, shocking, stupefying

The use of the word has become so ubiquitous that people can’t describe the most common item or event without referring to it as “awesome”.

Superlatives in speech certainly have their place. What’s wrong with the concept, good, better best?

“Mom that pie was really good. It was even better than the last one you baked. I’ll even go so far as to state, it’s the best pie you’ve baked this year!” What else can you say about a piece of pie? ………………..awesome? No!

“Wow, what a punt return! It was not only a good punt return, it was very good! It was a magnificent display of open-field running. The runner showed tremendous athletic ability. I believe it was even better than the one last week, perhaps the best in school history!” Certainly no faint praise……………but awesome? No!

Landing a man on the moon……………that’s awesome!

Columbus sailing the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria from Spain to the new world in 1492 must have seemed an overwhelming, a formidable, certainly daunting and perhaps dreadful undertaking. That was awesome!

Evil Knievel’s attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle, I’m sure to him and his handler’s, must have seemed terrifying. To his family it had to be alarming. Some thought to attempt the feat was stupefying. Yes, it was awesome!

The universe is awesome! A piece of pie is not! A slice of pizza is not! A 75 yard punt return for a touchdown is not! A hole-in-one is not!

The prospect of Iran having a nuclear weapon and the capacity to deliver it, now that is frightening, it’s terrifying, it’s shocking and alarming! It’s awesome!





  1. gary clark gary clark

    Couldn’t agree more about the use of awesome! I guess it’s easier to use because of our limited vocabulary. I personally should have paid more attention, during my English classes, it would have made a difference in my career and life . Our words are more powerful than we give them credit they “change” nations and culture, moving them to create or destroy!

    • BurtonB BurtonB

      Thanks, GW, I appreciate your comments and insight.

  2. John John

    Regrettably and admittedly I have terribly abused the use of this word. The youth of our country often develop slang or otherwise “highjack” or over use a word or phrase. I’m not sure when Awesome initially started being used as a buzz word for all things positive but it’s going on several decades now, perhaps as far back as the late 1980’s. There are a good number of misused, overused words in the English language and this one fits into that category.

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