I’m scrolling through my Twitter newsfeed in bed one morning- I go past a series of Donald Trump memes, an occasional SoundCloud link, and the customary Wiz Khalifa wake & bake selfie. I stop at a tweet from a girl I graduated with.
It reads: “It literally blows my mind.”
Literally. It literally blew her mind.
Did this girl lose her mind in a bloody explosion of membrane and flesh? I’m picturing a vivid scene with flecks of brain splattered all over the wall.
Or maybe she has a penis growing out of her cerebral cortex. Is her brain getting head or is her head lacking a brain?
And then I just feel confused, a little nauseous and highly critical of her linguistic faux pas.
It amazes me how often people use the word “literally” to describe something that is exactly the opposite in nature. More often than not, people use “literally” in place of something completely figurative in nature, something virtual, something that doesn’t even exist.
Perhaps people purposely misuse this word to create some sort of ironic juxtaposition. Although I doubt the general population uses parallelism in their commonplace conversations.
Maybe a wave of new-age Existentialism has taken root and people believe they can travel to virtual realities. Although a stint like that would probably require thousands of acid tabs. Very unlikely.
Itcan only be a matter of time before “literally” permanently transforms into word with a whole new meaning. “Literally” already carries connotations of absurdity and incongruity. How long before the denotation catches up- before Webster creates a shiny new entry for this word?
Definition: virtual, symbolic. Figure of speech: metaphoric, hyperbolic. I literally died last night.
I hear white is the new black, trump is the new Hitler, and kale is the new meat, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that “literally” is the new “figuratively.”
Chris Traeger is the perpetually happy but completely neurotic character played by Rob Lowe in the hit T.V. sitcom, Parks and Rec. In just about every episode of this sitcom, Chris exuberantly claims, “That is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me,” putting a noticeable emphasis on “literally.” I’m sure the writers of the show had a tongue in cheek moment when they wrote that line.
As a bit of a pragmatic idealist, I feel a sort of obligation to uphold the upmost linguistic standards- an obligation to troll the Internet and victimize poor girls in my college English blog.
Regardless of my intentions, I just find this language faux pas to be ridiculously ironic. I especially love to pick on my twin sister Taylor for her disastrous use of “literally.” I don’t blame her though. She is a Biology major, after all.