Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hollisterian Nouning

Glancing at a receipt for a flannel shirt this morning, I saw the shirt itemized as wovens.  Now I realize I'm not in a strong position to judge seeing as I'm shopping at Hollister but don't like this past participle adjective being used as a noun. Wovens to me feels like filling your mouth with water, opening your mouth halfway, and trying to keep it from sloshing out. 

It's pretty common to noun verbs and adjectives -- "receive the invite," or "make the gender reveal." Donald Trump's tweeted a dehumanizing and ugly riposte to Ann Coulter, claiming that "tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended at the border." That particularly ugly illustration shows just how insubstantial nouned adjectives are. Here, someone is reduced to a description, humanity and substance stripped. That's what nouning does, reduce something to a category, a quality. 

Sure, there's not much danger in retail as in politics, but you can see the trend there. It's a brave new world where you can put on a woven, pop a few edibles, and drop that invite into the mail.

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