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New York Daily Photo: Overused and Abused
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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Overused and Abused

There are words that are overused and abused and two of them are genius and luxury. I remember a radio program where a disk jockey was on a rant about the overuse of the word genius - he saw it applied to musicians who were just very good but certainly not in the league of true geniuses. Beethoven, Mozart or Bach could keep as many as 7 melodies in their minds at one time. They could compose complex music in their heads without having to hear it and then just write the completed score. Now that's genius.
Luxury should have elements of the sublime, uniqueness and rarity, not just offer the basics and use a comparison to the unacceptable to define it. Some may define luxury apartment in New York City in relative terms. From this perspective, luxury in New York can mean space, quiet or the absence of squalor. Many now consider living in the city itself a luxury. Although there are many good points here, I don't think the integrity of the word luxury is best kept by defining it using the standards of the homeless, destitute or uninhabitable housing. See my story - The Dark Ages.
When I first moved to the city, I saw the phrase luxury apartments and modern used in connection with any place that essentially was not a tenement. If the tub was not in the kitchen, the toilet was not in the public hallway or the place was not roach infested then we had luxury. Luxury here is what most people outside the city would consider the minimum acceptable standards for decent.
I am sure the apartments in the building in the photo are decent, but I would be surprised if they are truly luxurious. And townhouse lofts - here I think we misuse and abuse another word. but that's another story ...

Related Postings: The Dark Ages, Unguent.


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