Death of a Cliché

By Dave Fox
Seattle, Washington

[This post originally appeared on my Wordsplash blog in 2007.]


wordsplash-home-tmbI held a funeral today. My VCR/DVD-player died.

As I hooked up a replacement model — a multi-zone player that’s compatible with DVDs from all over the world, but which will not play videocassettes — I realized digital technology has made obsolete an invention that seemed revolutionary in the 1970s.

I am told some kids today don’t know what a vinyl, 33-r.p.m. record is. I’m guessing the same will be true for the videocassette within a few years.

Later this afternoon, I was reading an article in a year-old copy of my favorite writing magazine, Writer’s Digest. The following sentence caught my attention:

“Tech-savvy authors have an edge over their how-do-you-set-a-VCR brethren….”

I love Writer’s Digest — and the article I was reading, about how authors can get recognized in the high-tech publishing era, was brilliant. But I thought, “Shame on the author for using one of the stalest clichés of the 20th century! Shame on the editors for letting it slip into print!”

“More complicated than programming a VCR.” That joke has been dreadfully overused for years. I’m hoping that with the looming extinction of the VCR, we will also see the death of this cliché.

Comments from the original blog:

Multizone…? You’d better start watching my DVD’s then! Instead of carrying them back and forth between the US and Europe for years and years plus a week or two…

PS I like the lay-out in your new blog. Far better than the old one. Congratulations, you might have some success with this one! Like they say in the theatres; break a leg!

Posted by: brrre | December 12, 2007 at 06:24 PM

Published on Monday, December 3, 2007

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