“Conflicted” and other troublesome usages

From Disquieting Modern Trends: William Safire Edition, by Will Layman & Chris Osmond:

The Word “Conflicted,” as in “To Feel Conflict”

Like so much else that’s wrong with today’s world, this disquieting usage must be laid at the feet of people who want to talk about their feelings. There was a time when a person would say, “I’m confused” or “I’m torn” or even the good old “Huh?” Today, however, the pseudo-scientific field of therapy has given us “conflictedness.” So, upon arriving back at D.M.T. headquarters, we might hear someone say, “I am conflicted about whether to smoke this bowl now or to wait for Uncle Larry to arrive, because I suspect he will suck it up like a fucking Hoover.” This is a ridiculous way to express doubt or confusion. But more importantly, the person who is “conflicted” seeks to take his common problem and elevate it to the level of jargon-requiring intellectual debate. Maybe, maybe, Hamlet was “conflicted” about whether to kill his slutty mom. You? You’re just an attention-grabbing vocab-trendmeister with a problem. Namely that we are going to kick your ass if we ever hear you use the word “conflicted” again.

(Footnotes omitted.)


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