It’s been a while since I’ve griped about TV news. Eighteen months and 16 days to be exact. That’s because I’ve been on a diet – a kind of Golo for news junkies. But who can stick to a controlled viewing plan when the world is standing on its head?
At the time of my last “rant” I took up arms to combat the over-usage of metaphors that permeated TV broadcasting. In addition to a diminishing tolerance for cliches, I resented their repeated usage because they were downright intimidating. Their use is supposed to signal that the person using them is an up-to-date expert. The user is “in,” part of the cognoscenti, and if you didn’t connect with the metaphor, you were so not!
At the time of writing the cable news networks were rife with expressions such as “low hanging fruit,” “wheelhouse,” “band width,” “playing Whac-a-Mole,” and “hyperbole,” to name but a few.
I have no idea how these words became popular, but I have my suspicions. Perhaps once a year, representatives from the business and news media hold their annual “Edgy Word Convention” at a large venue, maybe Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium if the weather’s good. After days of meeting in small groups they come together to vote on a fresh list of buzz words aimed at cleverness, which is then disseminated to all the talking heads with instructions to begin use immediately.
I know my little fantasy is not plausible, but I’m at a loss to explain how these expressions permeate newsprint and TV with such widespread usage.
Now that I’m tuned in once again, I’m happy to report that most of last year’s least-wanted list has fallen into disuse. Apart from “hyperbole,” which President Biden insists on keeping alive to assure us that his remarks are sincere and not the “h” word.
But alas, a new expression has emerged to fill the void. Ladies and gentlemen: permit me to introduce writ large.
Writ large. Was I tuned in to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or Oprah the first time I heard it? No matter. But I do remember experiencing a kind of aural double-take, not convinced of the words I was actually hearing. Did it mean something that was printed in big letters, like the first line of an eye chart? If so, what did the reference to the first line of an eye chart have to do with the inability of Republican congressmen to choose a new leader? There it was again, the intimidation factor!
Soon everyone was saying it. Statements ending with the phrase “writ large” were flourishing on my TV screen. And once more, it felt like I was the only one at the party who didn’t get the punch line.
What holds the ego together at moments like this is the belief that one is not alone. In all my years of conversing, and they are many (I was an early talker) I don’t recall any of my discussion partners including the phrase in their discourse. Whether we were talking about our next salon appointment, or something more serious, each conversation was remarkable in the absence of writ large!
So where do they come from, these most recent buzz words? Wanting to join in the laughter, I was motivated to conduct a bit of research, and here’s what I found.
The phrase writ large means that something is clear and obvious.
Writ is an archaic form of “written.” So, one can understand the idiom writ large as something written largely or magnified. (So, I wasn’t far off when I likened it to the first line of an eye chart!) However, it should always be used in reference to a specific noun, used after said noun as an appositive and not as a verbal phrase.
I admit to having to look up the definition of “appositive,” but I am now armed and ready to catch any talking head trying to appear au courant but using the phrase incorrectly!
And, just in case you plan on adopting the expression for use in your own banter, I offer the following examples:
For political discourse:
Chaos prevails in Congress writ large.
For everyday gossip:
Martha has had botox writ large.
The Robinsons have lots of money writ large, and they know how to spend it!
My son, the doctor, was the brightest in his class writ large.
Now that I have laid to rest my curiosity about writ large, another question emerges. Is there such a thing as writ small?
It’s once again fall, my favorite season. I love the fall colors. Standing near a tree aglow with orange, red, and rust-colored leaves is very flattering to my complexion.
Fall is also the time when you might be considering a wardrobe update. As you stow the linens and retrieve the sweaters, you might be browsing through fall fashion preview publications. This can be a very disheartening experience for “women of a certain age.” So, to ease the pain just a little, I’ve decided to repost “an oldie but goodie.” It’s just as true this year as when I wrote it.
What’s In It for Me?
Can you believe it’s already mid-September? Where have all the flowers gone? The summer flew by as quickly as if it was being pursued by a pack of cheetahs. (Do cheetahs run in packs?) Now, all the signs of fall are in the air — shorter days, cooler nights, and, according to my runny nose and itchy eyes, whichever pollen is released into the atmosphere after Labor Day.
And as much as some of us hate to see summer disappear, we are motivated to turn our attention to our wardrobes. Do we play by the old rules and pack away those whites until next Memorial Day, or abide by “white is still alright?”
And who can resist the temptation of perusing the fall fashion supplements that arrive with our newspapers, or of browsing through a fashion magazine as we wait at the check-out line in the local supermarket.
One such opportunity presented itself to me as I sat in the waiting room of one of the many doctors I visit every September. (Fall also happens to be my check-up season. See High Maintenance…) Lying on the coffee table was the very hefty volume of the latest Vogue Magazine, loudly announcing that it was “The September Issue” and inviting me to “Come On In.” Anticipating the average 45-minute wait to see the doctor, I calculated that I probably had enough time to flip through a least half of the more than 592 pages. And so I did. Went on in, that is.
And what was in it for me? Absolutely nothing! Unless I wanted to emulate some 14-year-old model in six inch stilettos, and a low cut suit jacket with nothing underneath. Or consider a short skirt with boots rising to mid-thigh. Or how about a T-shirt sporting a picture of Alice Cooper?
Women of a certain age (and men, too) once again we have been overlooked by the media and the fashion industry! Nowhere among those glossy pages was there a representation of the millions of us who are more concerned with fashionably concealing than revealing.
Still with time on my hands, I wondered what a fashion magazine would actually contain if it was geared towards the Medicare set. And who would publish it? So let me share with you some preliminary thoughts about my fantasy publication.
WELCOME TO THE LATEST ISSUE OF
THE AARP MAGAZINE FALL FASHION PREVIEW
THE PRACTICAL STILETTO
We are proud to feature the latest fashion in footwear for Fall. Jimmy Choo’s heretofore unknown half-brother, Seymour, has designed the perfect shoe for the fashion-conscious woman who is also concerned with avoiding a hip replacement. Meet the new stiletto — the one with the removable heel. Unlike his half-brother, Sy Choo really gets older women. The long thin heel is perfect for crossing a sexy leg while seated, or quietly standing still while posing for a family photo. But want to get from Point A to Point B? Simply unscrew the heels, tuck them discreetly into your purse, and voila! You are comfortably and safely on terra firma.
Everything old is new again! The fashion house of Yves St. Laurent revives the Trapeze shape!
Those YSL folks understand that women of a certain age desire to look fashionable and trim, but also reject Spanx and other confining undergarments. Enter the Trapeze dress. A big hit in the 50’s, the line has been updated to suit the modern Medicare recipient who wants to be chic, and yet discrete about her muffin tops. Add a pair of low-heeled, sensible shoes and you’re ready for the fall season. Available in two slimming shades: black and ebony.
NOT YOUR DAUGHTER’S THONGS
Feel foolish wearing bikini underwear? Tummy revealing those few extra pounds that came from who knows where? Don’t despair. You can still feel sexy in today’s high-waisted briefs! Every woman knows that the backbone of any good wardrobe is their undies (along with bras that actually fit). So, here’s the skinny on the latest skivvies. For that woman of a certain age, we present the extra cut and coverage line of high waisted underwear. These little cuties are far from frumpy. Made with lace in all the right places, they feature polka dots, stripes, and flashy patterns that you wouldn’t be caught dead in wearing on the outside. But under those Trapeze dresses, why not have a little bit of fun?
THE HOT 2023 JUMPSUIT? YES, YOU CAN!
Good news! You don’t have to avoid the versatile jumpsuit just because your last birthday came with more frequent trips to the loo. Thanks to Neiman-Marcus and the House of DVF, you can enjoy the long, lean look afforded by this sexy one-piece garment without the stress of removing it before you lose bladder control. Today’s jumpsuit for the older woman comes with quick-release features that assures you will always look cool… and stay dry. So whether you want one of these cuties for casual wear, or a black silk for a formal occasion, go for it! Be daring! Remember, relief is just a snap away.
To be continued, folks. The nurse just called my name. Please feel free to send me any ideas of your own. I’d be happy to forward them to AARP for their first fashion issue. So be sure to look inside. It’s all there for us!
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.