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Beam Me Up, Scotty

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Posted: 15 May 2014 | 5:25 pm

On a recent medium-haul flight I found myself sat next to a mad ad man named Scotty. Within 60 seconds I had somehow led him to believe we were embarking on a bromance, but in reality it was just the tight elbowroom and compressed air that brought me and that manic brand man together.

It's in these moments that I tragically envy the deaf, dumb and mute. Those battery-driven bunnies on the TV commercials have an on and off switch, but sadly Scotty, who spent what felt like aeons explaining his new tech travel app, had no visible signs of one. Indeed, he passionately punctuated the pitch with the terms "awesome" and "sweet" so many times I nearly passed out.

We live in a truly stupid era. This is not the Age of Enlightenment, nor could you mistake the vibe as Renaissance. I highly doubt anyone on that plane could even spell the latter without the help of Google.

In my own politically indecisive place of residence, Thailand, the government's tourism arm recently embarked on a niche campaign to tap into the bizarrely named segment of "honeyteering". The utterance of the term "niche" already spells trouble. I'd liken it to boarding a plane with only three more passengers on a flight to Pakistan, or hearing that you're "big in France". The much-vaunted phrase should be avoided like Hare Krishnas in an airport.

Tourism is now buzzing with new niche offerings. Hell, let's call it by its real name: the cult of made-up terms. We now have "bleisure", which-as any married person who fabricates a business trip to get away from a nagging spouse or pack of wild kids will tell you-is nonsense. Of course there are other silly terms, such as "glamping" (I don't know about you, but I am not sleeping in a tent unless it is branded by Four Seasons) and "staycation", which came into vogue a few years ago. This, however, defeats the entire purpose of getting away from pesky family and friends. The tribe has indeed spoken.

Yet the tourism sector in not alone in conjuring up buzzwords that stick in our heads like the waterboarding torture of Gangnam Style. Creative property types have also started to turn closet-sized condominiums into posh suites, slum housing into villas and have made a mockery of the term "lifestyle". Just typing that last one makes me want to hurl myself in front of a speeding bus.

Do bums bask in the warm glow of an ignominious "#lifestyle"? Probably not, but Scotty, who seemed to start and finish every sentence with the loathsome term, doesn't split any hairs; in fact he doesn't have any. Now, let's take a look at "luxury". Preceded by "ultra" and "mega" and even abbreviated to "lux", this is without doubt the most overused, tired, worn-out and whored-out term in real estate.

But mad ad men and women will always have an insatiable thirst for loaded words that not only get to the point, but hammer them into your head one nail at a time. Does it work? Sometimes, but so, apparently, does the Nigerian lottery. Like I said at the start, there are a lot of stupid people out there who want to jump onto the express train to Eazy Street. H'm, did I just do that... see you never can tell, can you Scotty.

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