Man Wants to Stamp Out 'Awesome'

A quick Google search for the word "awesome" will bring up roughly 1,560,000,000 results, and British-born, Los Angeles-based poet John Tottenham thinks that's far too many.

In fact, Tottenham recently launched something he calls the Campaign to Stamp Out Awesome, or CPSOA.

He told The Los Angeles Times that "saying the word in my presence is like waving a crucifix in a vampire's face," and added that "it's boiled down to one catch-all superlative that's completely meaningless."

"It's a matter of semantic satiation," Tottenham told the Times. CPSOA's objective is outlined in its mission statement: "Please try to restrict usage of this nauseatingly ubiquitous (and by now, completely meaningless) superlative to those of us who are under the age of 12."

According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail , Tottenham has created bumber stickers for his campaign and has a t-shirt design in the works.

Reactions around the blogosphere to Tottenham's CPSOA have been varied. His Twitter stream is full of photos of people holding his anti-awesome bumper sticker in support, yet recent media coverage seems to have resulted in a rash of criticism.

LA Weekly reader Chester commented, "I actually love the word 'awesome,' but I get into trouble because I use the proper dictionary definition. I will use 'awesome' to describe things like natural disasters, house fires, terrible crimes, etc., and people will scold me for implying that I admire these things. Awesome means 'extremely impressive or daunting,' not 'vaguely positive.' A volcano is awesome; your tasty bean burrito is not."

Tottenham's campaign is headquartered out of Stories , a book store and café in L.A.'s Echo Park neighborhood, known for hosting literary events featuring "all sorts of weirdos" and frequent readings of poetry and prose.

For more information about the Campaign To Stamp Out Awesome, find Tottenham on Twitter and on his website.


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