Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Some time ago my friend Katherine* sent me a link to an interesting article, with the accompanying comment, "Oh, you have to write on this!  Sounds like you would write if you were assisting them!"

The link was to a story in Advertising Age magazine that led me in turn to the website for a browser plugin called Downworthy, advertised as "(able) to turn hyperbolic viral headlines into what they really mean."

Are you annoyed by hysterically overwrought headlines on online stories that turn out to be silly and mundane? Downworthy is a plug-in for the Chrome browser that translates common over-the-top online headline expressions into something that's a bit more accurate. From the website, here are a few of the substitutions that are built into the program:

"Breathtaking" becomes, "Fleetingly Inspirational."

"OMG" translates to, "No One Cares. At All."

"Stop What You’re Doing!" yields, "Bookmark Now and Later Completely Forget About."

"This Will Blow Your Mind" becomes, "This Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment."

"You Won't Believe" equals, "In All Likelihood, You'll Believe."

And finally,

"This Will Change Your Life Forever" translates to, "This Will Not Change Your Life in ANY Meaningful or Lasting Way."

Here's a link to a sample article to which Downworthy is to be applied ... and here's the screenshot after Downworthy:

I think this is brilliant ... it's a great program that also has tremendous promise as a device for translating political bullshit into accurate language. It might help clarify airy political statements like these:

"Obamacare is a complete disaster that means the end of civilization as we know it" translates to, "We Republicans can't figure out anything better, so we'll trash Obamacare and hope nobody realizes we don't have a workable plan of our own."

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter" (a quote from former Vice President Dick Cheney) becomes, "AAUUGGHH!! The deficit is vast and we're all going to die!!"

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" (a quote from President Obama) turns into, "If you like your doctor, maybe you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, maybe you can keep your health care plan. Hell if I know."

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes” (a quote from House Speaker John Boehner) translates as, "I can't get my party to do a damn thing, so I may as well blame everything on the President."

"Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs" (a quote from Senator Nancy Pelosi) comes out as, "The entire population of the United States is only about 320 million, but 500 million is such a nice round number and nobody ever questions statistics, anyhow."

"Anything said by Ted Cruz" translates as "Blah, blah, blah, self-aggrandizing BS."

The possibilities are endless! Got any proposed translations of your own? Leave a comment ... we can always improve the program!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Thanks, Katherine! You da lady!


KathyA said...

YOU ARE SO ARTICULATE!! (Translation: We are so alike it makes me giggle.)

eViL pOp TaRt said...

This would be a great antidote to the hyperbole so often seen on the internet!

Duckbutt said...

With the epidemic of overstatement, everyone becomes a de facto spin doctor.

Mike said...

I've become immune to the OMGs because of the internet.

Grand Crapaud said...

Can anything more useless than the promiscuous use of the word "awesome."

Grand Crapaud said...

Or, lately, OMG is not enough: now we got OMFG. She should be pissed.

allenwoodhaven said...

Mine involves the words companies use when they change their procedures and/or fees: "We're doing this for your convenience." It means "We're doing this because it costs us less money, it gives us more of your money, and we don't care that it will take you more time and trouble to comply."

Katherine said...

As I expected, you made much more of it than the starting material. Thanks for the entertainment :)