No More “Deranged”

And while we're at it let's also ban "unhinged."

stop immediately
Gawker Language Gripes

Okay this is absolutely deranged but if you’re putting in a dinner order can I get the pasta? Feeling unhinged … might watch the first season of the OC. I’m ready to release my most deranged opinion yet: Pinto is the best bean. Made the completely unhinged choice to wear a t-shirt today.

Yes, if you were to take a peek at the current communications of those in their not-quite-youth, you’d assume they’d all just escaped the binds of an involuntary psychiatric hold. Everyone’s activities are absolutely deranged. Everyone’s ideas are completely unhinged. All of these mind numbingly boring people, going through their rote actions, are desperate for you to be under the impression that they are not boring but are in fact wild, like nothing you’ve ever seen before; completely out of their mind (in a charming way). That they are, in now antiquated parlance, “so random.” They are telling you this, over and over, but they are not this way. No. They are lying. And it needs to stop.

The source of the “deranged” and “unhinged” outbreak is, of course, Twitter. On Twitter, people like to say the same words back and forth to each other to signal that they are attempting humor. Like the men in offices exchanging Anchorman quotes before them, these Twitter users choose from a set of known jokes to fit each of their situations and elicit “laughs;” to say, “remember how we both know this, and isn’t it hilarious?” Milk was a bad choice. Men will literally ride a horse to the grocery store instead of going to therapy. I love lamp. I am once again asking for one (1) smooth brain to gifted kid pipeline, because nature is healing, and we simply must lock her up.

And yes, ha-ha-ha, of course we are all laughing and enjoying these supposedly pithy little bits of text that are stripped of their pithiness by repetition. And whomst among us could resist, anyway, in the Year of Our Lord 2021? But we are talking specifically of “deranged” and “unhinged” here because they are lies. Everybody who says these words is normal and boring. They are lying to me. And I do not like being lied to.

I suspect “deranged” and “unhinged” were chosen as the en vogue terms due to the fact that it is no longer socially acceptable to say “insane.” So those who’d like to communicate the idea of “insane” have to use synonyms that won’t set off any alarms, even though the definition of each of these replacement words is, in fact, “insane.” And so someone’s love of celebrity Kristen Stewart is deranged. Someone’s interest in the popular film franchise The Fast and the Furious is, oh my god, guys, completely unhinged.

Furthermore, I suspect these two qualifiers are being used in great numbers right now for three other reasons. No need to beg — I will share them with you. The first is that it is a particularly hard time to get and hold attention, which is the main goal of social media users. Lots of things are happening. Climate change, … etc. The use of outsize words like “deranged” and “unhinged” will not hold attention — nothing will — but the hope seems to be that they will grab it for at least a moment. Maybe if I say I am deranged, I will convince my followers that it is worth mentioning that I am watching several episodes of America’s Next Top Model. And maybe they will give me a “fav.” Uh-huh. Maybe they will. But I certainly won’t.

The second reason is that although several significantly devastating things are happening concurrently all the time, the internet is in general a very boring place to be. It is possible that these boring people don’t really understand that they are boring, because they have nothing interesting to which they can compare themselves. In their sad mind, the idea that they enjoy a popular movie franchise is “deranged.” Aw. The idea that they might post a photo of themselves wearing a tube top is “unhinged.” Pizza for dinner, with multiple toppings? Absolutely psychotic. I’m literally shaking.

The third reason is I think people either feel, or think they should feel, unwell right now. With everything that is happening — “[gestures broadly]” — no one has a right to feel anything but insan-, er, “deranged.” If you are not speaking loudly about your depression, are you even sad? If you aren’t shouting about how every decision you make is completely unhinged, are you, god, weathering these nightmares with your mental health intact?

Of course, though, the most obvious reason is that people would rather tell than show. They’d rather attribute to themselves words that indicate interestingness than actually do anything worthy of intrigue. And this desire to have people believe that you are psychotic? Well. I guess it is a bit deranged.