Here’s another phrase I hate: sipping lattes. I should start off by saying that I hate any word that’s meant to emulate the sound of water doing anything, from “babbling” to that “sppppth” sound you supposedly make when you’re drinking a latte. I drink a lot of coffee and spend a lot of time in coffee shops, so this phrase really makes me cringe. In addition to being totally annoying, it also has an air of pretentiousness. The people who are the type to sip lattes are the same people you’d expect to be doing any number of things we should also feel impressed by. If we were pseudo-intellectuals.
The phrase speaks not to the general coffee drinking public (given that nearly everyone drinks coffee, tea, or some variant), but to a newly created demographic: the snazzy business woman with “innovative new ideas,” the soon-to-graduate business major, the corporate type with a laptop reading the morning paper, the Etsy seller. You get certain types of people who like to flock to coffee shops, granted. I’m not complaining about coffee shop crowds in general, but the bullshit suave sounding phrase they use to identify us: those who sip lattes. I hate the word sip. It’s awful. And the notion that everyone goes to a coffee shop to “sip lattes” instead of chug coffee or drink tea lends itself to exactly the kind of demographic I’m referring to. Whatever happened to the word “drink”? Isn’t that what we’re doing? Isn’t that good enough? But no, I guess they’re right. That four dollar beverage goes better with an equally expensive-sounding onomatopoeia.
And while I’m on the topic, I have something to confess. TEDTalks bug the shit out of me. Yeah, yeah, I know, there goes my philosophy degree right in the toilet now that I’ve openly admitted it. (Yes, I have one of those, why else do you think I’m here?) But I had to say it. The whole thing is just a festering pot of smart-cred. Want to sound deep, intelligent, and thoughtful even if you’re not? Mention that you listen to TEDTalks!
It’s not the talks themselves. I’ve listened to a few, and yeah, sure, they’re interesting. There are a lot of topics and a variety of insights, and overall it’s a cool idea. What I can’t stand is the language they use to describe it. Brain food. Inspiring, motivating. Smart talks for smart people. Curiosity stirring. Ugh! Stop it already!
I can’t help but recoil whenever it’s brought up. These are the same people who figure that claiming they love Shakespeare makes them a good writer or a deep thinker. It’s just this idea that there are certain things you have to do to appear smart, or cultured, or interesting. It’s all bullshit. I’m not saying people can’t genuinely enjoy yoga, Shakespeare, TEDTalks, whatever. But can we all stop pretending to do stuff that makes us look smart? Can we stop sipping our lattes and just drink them like the hairy mammals we really are?
(And yes, I did color the accompanying image with coffee. Well, it was coffee at some point.)