Is there anything more wrong than slang that’s not quite right?

I came across the following in the council magazine, describing one of the many passions of a ‘Local Hero’:

…holding her own in the mosh pit of the latest Goth-rock band…

Oh dear.

  • Point the first: a mosh pit is a feature of a gig.  You might also hear it being used sometimes with reference to a venue.  You’ll pretty much never hear it being referred to as a feature of a band.  So, you might hear someone say “I love being in the mosh pit at a Hatesex gig”, or, “The mosh pit at Underworld is awesome”; you’re unlikely to hear them saying “I love Hatesex’s mosh pit”.*
  • Point the second: no-one calls it Goth-rock.  It’s pretty much always just called Goth.  Very occasionally po-faced music journalist types will refer to Gothic Rock, in the belief it makes it sound more important, or worthy of serious artistic consideration.  But no-one calls it Goth-rock.*

I love this kind of thing, when people who are painfully un-hip and out-of-touch (frequently geography teachers) try to come across as trendy and down wit da kidz, and make slight mistakes with the terminology that means they end up sounding more out of touch than if they’d just used language they understand to talk about the same thing.  What makes it even more delicious in this case is that it’s in the context of an article trying to show how people who do the right thing by their communities aren’t all boring old squares, daddio; no, some of them are up-to-the-minute movers and groovers, and like nothing better than holding their own in the mosh pit of the latest Goth-rock band…

Anyway, it’s one of my favourite things ever.  I had a lecturer at college who tried it once.  He used a lecture on Milton to tell us what a big fan he was of Nirvana.  Unfortunately for his street credentials, he pronounced it Near-vana.

So close, and yet so far away…

* – Unless, that is, it’s me who’s out of touch with the way these terms are used these days.  There would be a delicious irony in that.

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One Response to Is there anything more wrong than slang that’s not quite right?

  1. roguesophia says:

    no, I have to agree with you here…

    You CAN say XXXX’s mosh pit, but you’d here the mosh at XXXX last night.

    No one really says mosh pit anymore… the pit is implied… or you say the pit, with the mosh implied.

    Slang is all so very fluid.

    holding her own in the mosh pit of the latest Goth-rock band (lets call the band XXXX)

    holding her own in the mosh/pit at the latest XXXX show

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