Bashin' a fashion for passion

Have we run out of words to simply say someone really enjoys something?

Dears users of the word “passion”,

LANGUAGE is a fashion. Things come into vogue like hoodies and skinny jeans, and things fall out of vogue, like scrunchies and dress ties with Hannah Barbera characters.

Language is a bit like that. At the moment, we seem to have a 'passion fashion'.

Yes, I’m writing to you, those who use the word on a regular basis: passion.

Once upon a time, words and phrases like “holds a keen interest in” or “hobby” would have sufficed. Now, things are done because they are someone’s "passion".

Personally, the word has lost some of its cut. Keep an ear out and you’ll start to see what I mean.

Surely it still means a deep yearning, a desire, a life-on-the-line commitment at all costs, sell your soul without a receipt if you had to, sort of longing.

If you can say that about your gardening habits or your whip-making pastime, then I’d certainly like to see you live it out.

People are passionate about everything these days, and that’s just the problem.

He’s passionate about regional communities; or he’s got a passion for medieval archery. Knitting beanies from cat hair has become her passion, or she’s finally found her passion: underground quasi-molecular science.

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Have we really become a society that cares more deeply and intimately about things, be those things French model trains or Tasmanian meteorology?

I doubt it. I think using “passion” is a good way of getting funding or expressing that someone is really serious about something. Serious about getting the word “passion” into a story mostly.

Have we run out of words to simply say someone really enjoys something?

The word “passion” is best left as the name of a perfume by Elizabeth Taylor, it’s that sort of word.

There’d be quite the outcry if it went the other way and old Liz released a fragrance that thrust a common journalist’s cliché into the fragrance world.

Imagine that: “Allegedly…. by Elizabeth Taylor”. That’s bound to have one of those fluoro price-reduced Chemist Warehouse stickers on it in no time.

My assumption is that many of you may in fact be journalists using the word. There’s nothing like having a direct quote from a subject saying: “It’s just really become my passion”, whether she’s talking about breeding short-haired Arabian guinea pigs or he’s declaring his love for steel-wheeled Fordson tractors.

So, users of passion, use it carefully. Don’t throw it around the walls like mission brown paint in the 80s.

You may very well ask why I am so harsh toward the overuse of this seven-letter word.

Well, pushing others to expand their use of language and enrich their vocabularies - I guess it’s just something I’ve got a passion for.

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Ashley Walmsley

is the editor of Good Fruit and Vegetables.
The Iceberg LettersDear readers - the majority of an iceberg sits below the surface, and it may just take one special letter to see what else lurks under the tip of a topic.


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