Potholes Are Sexy? You’re joking, right?

Dessins de Martin van Maele. Martin Van Maele....

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…or are you just plain lazy about language and choosing adjectives?

On Day 2 of Bar Camp someone gave a talk called “What does open in open data mean?” It was a serious and informative talk, and the speaker appeared to be well-prepared and capable yet she pushed a personal pet peeve when she said: “Someone must think potholes are sexy because there’s a lot of data about potholes.”  Piffle.

If data has to be sexy to be worthy of being collected and made open, then we’re in serious trouble.  Not to mention the implied sexual preferences of the person who finds potholes sexy. That’s one really weird fetish.

I wonder, is there a particular type of pothole they prefer over others? Do they go for something long and narrow they have to squeeze into, or do they prefer something deep and round they can roll around in?  Do they prefer them bone dry, or do they wait till it rains, then put their rubbers on and rush out to mess around in a pothole full of muddy rainwater?  Perhaps they prefer them slippery, a couple of days after it’s rained, when the water has evaporated and the pothole is a miniature pond of wet mud they can slide in and out of.

Bleah.  I don’t think so, but then as a society we’re pretty free with – and tolerant of – our use of sexuality as a lure, and everybody has their sexual preferences.  If somebody wants to have sex in a pothole, or even with a pothole, I doubt there’s a law to stop them – unless it’s in a public place, or with a minor!

So why on earth would what seemed an intelligent woman use the adjective ‘sexy’ in that way?  Where did this pathetic misuse of the word start?  And why do people propagate it? Just because somebody else uses it that way doesn’t make it a good choice.  Linguists? Has anyone explored this misuse?

Sexy is an adjective to describe sexual arousal NOT human interest.  We are more than our sex drive, more than our sexuality.  So why misuse the word?  What’s the goal?  I’m sure it’s the same as advertisers who use sexy images to lure in potential customers.  As far as I’m concerned misusing the word sexy in a talk about a serious topic at a conference is just as bad as using booth bunnies at a conference.  In fact it may be even worse because it makes the speaker look bad and suggests people need to be sexually aroused to have their brains engaged.

I’m fed up with it. It’s just plain dumb. Besides, there are more valid reasons why there would be a lot of data about potholes.


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Life is an amazing journey. http://www.alisonamazed.wordpress.com http://www.alisonboston.wordpress.com

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Posted in Alison Boston, PostADay2011, Use of Language, Writing
3 comments on “Potholes Are Sexy? You’re joking, right?
  1. […] use of ‘sexy’ as an adjective to describe anything of interest and told him about the Sexy Pothole blog post as well as some recent conversations I’ve had about this misuse of the word.  I suggested […]

  2. Chris Wright says:

    Hah! Great article – the appropriation by commerce of excitable language used to describe things that are actually quite dull is a failure of the imagination in my opinion. By all means let language evolve, but this is devolution surely!

    • alisonamazed says:

      Thanks for commenting Chris, and stating your opinion 🙂 Nice to hear other people’s ideas about this. You and are in agreement, yet Leif and others like the alternate use. Just had a chat with a graphic designer about this, and he says he uses the word sexy to describe things that really excite him, to the point of salivating – yet not necessarily sexually stimulating.

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