The New Dictionary Of Received Ideas

The New Dictionary Of Received Ideas

French writer Gustave Flaubert

In the late 19th century, the French novelist Gustave Flaubert compiled Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues (The Dictionary of Received Ideas), an encyclopedia of all that was believed right and proper among the intelligentsia and cognoscenti. It was intended to serve as a sure-footed guide to the minefields of cocktail party conversation. Our present-day social media feeding frenzy demands such a guidebook more than at any other time, and with an eye toward that goal, our correspondent offers a soupçon of today’s idées reçues.

The excellent tech writer David Auerbach has compiled a New Dictionary Of Received Ideas!


abortion: safe, legal, and unavailable; question of its legality of utmost importance

abuse: speech

activism: contains homeopathic dose of politics

Afghanistan War: forgotten regional skirmish circa 2001; rumored by some to be ongoing

ally: of convenience

alt-right: makes Republicans look good in comparison

balance: exists by virtue of all issues possessing exactly two equal, opposing sides

base: (a) immovable; (b) irrelevant; (c) devoid of higher thought

Black Lives Matter: mattered to white people 2015-16

Brexit: too much democracy

capitalism: the ail for what cures you; thunder against

clickbait: see op-ed

conservative: no viable heroes since Reagan

cultural Marxism: (a) neither; (b) Protocols of the Elders of Zion

culture war: all-access politics

Deep State: born in 2016

democracy: going out of fashion in a hurry

Democrat: (a) savior; (b) doesn’t like Trump

deplorables: rarely invoked; best ignored

diversity: reduplication of established norms

Donald Trump: unhinged pariah supported by half of America’s politicians

electoral college: not enough democracy

elite: privileged group you don’t belong to

fake news: (a) propaganda; (b) news

false equivalence: non-manicheistic analysis (see: balance)

FBI: our only hope

feminist: bad feminist

fiscal conservative: lemon socialist

freedom: that which impinges on others’

Freedom Caucus: strutting roosters

gender: not biological except when it is

George Soros: greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing conservatives he existed

global warming: too slow to care about

government: fantastic until Trump was elected

gun control: (a) fantasy; (b) nightmare

hashtivism: contest of numbers

Hillary Clinton: the Emma Goldman of our time

human biodiversity: genetic idealism

identity politics: marketing strategies

incel: internet celebrity

income inequality: only a priority for cis white men

intersectionality: “swordfish”

Iraq War: forgotten regional skirmish circa 2003

Islam: (a) the Great Satan; (b) chiefly persecuted by the Great Satan

Islamophobia: overly concerned with others’ fashion choices

liberal: no viable heroes

libertarian: in favor of strengthening government to prevent government

lived experience: irrefutable; epistemologically bulletproof

machine learning: pedagogy as judged by standardized tests

meritocracy: not to be preferred to nepotism and cronyism

MeToo: don’t be left out

microaggression: worse than a macroaggression

MGTOW: mostly going to ogle women

MRA: (a) maudlin revanchist altercations; (b) misandry reification asset

millennial: (a) it’s all their fault; (b) nothing’s their fault

misandry: always justified; never intended seriously

misogyny: pervasive; structural; unfixable

Mitch McConnell: hated by all, currently runs America

moderate: press favorite

Nazi: (a) German political party which peaked in the 30s; (b) punching bag tulpa

NSA: invention of Edward Snowden

neoliberal: never existed

op-ed: see clickbait

opioid crisis: problem of how to keep drug company profits up

patriotism: marketing strategies

populism: always unpopular

preferred pronoun: always “me,” never “you”

prejudice: everyone possesses it; must be eradicated

privilege: prerequisite for discussing privilege

problematic: tending to expose oneself to criticism

progressive: Calvinist Whig

Puerto Rico: foreign country

punching down: satire by people you don’t know

punching up: satire by your friends

racist: (a) thinks whites a superior people; (b) fails implicit bias test

rape culture: must-see tv

reactionary: person on social media

reason: archaic elitist tool

red pill: makes you larger, makes you small

Republican: only thinks what Donald Trump says

resistance: tweeting, mostly

revolution: will fix everything

Russia: skilled at manipulating fools

safe space: where you will only be attacked by people like you

self-care: masturbation

Silicon Valley: somehow responsible for all this

SJW: such jejune whinging

snowflake: melts on the tip of your tongue

socialism: capitalism 2.0

social justice: enacted through television, movies, op-eds, and tweets

social media: fidget spinner

Supreme Court: you must vote because of it

tankie: real socialism has been tried, it just hasn’t failed

TERF: doesn’t know what TERF stands for

terrorist: bogeyman, usually incompetent

truscum: TERF

tucute: TERF

Twitter: digital Colosseum, bread and circuses

Vladimir Putin: kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being Donald Trump has ever known in his life

witch hunt: necessary tool for culling the increasing surfeit of witches

working class: white racists