Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pet Peeve

"I discovered _____"

While I suppose this has a long history such as "Christopher Columbus discovered the new world", it doesn't make me very happy. It's like scientists who "discover" a new species of primate - a species known about by the locals for eons. The only thing the scientist "discovered" was that it hadn't been observed by trained scientists, cataloged, and dissected yet.

It particularly irks me when someone says that they "discovered" a restaurant or a new band. Are we all so insecure about ourselves that we have to walk around acting like modern day Magellans? When surveys consistently show that a large number of Americans don't believe in the theory of evolution, why do so many of us insist like sounding as if we're the Darwins of The New Pornographers?

I recall hearing someone tell me that they discovered a new food, "Thai food", years ago and I thought, "Boy I'm sure the people from Siam are going to be happy to hear this! Guess those people in Bangkok had no idea that they could eat local peppers - good thing that you went bravely where no one else had gone! You've opened up a whole new age not to mention a new source of sustenance for the starving masses. Rice, what a concept!"

Here's a thought, try not discovering something. Try learning about things. Try eating a little humble pie.

I realize that this is just a language definition issue and I'm being a purist about the word, hence it is my pet peeve. Now, I enter my Andy Rooney years...

FWIW, and full disclosure, this is one of the co-signer's favorite phrases. I've learned not to pick on it too often. She's long since tired of hearing my outrage about it, I've discovered.

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