How super

I continue to be fascinated by the rise of the super. No, I don't mean the predictable phenomenon of Claudia, Cindy, Linda and co ironing their faces and dusting off their youthful selves' workout DVDs in order to squirrel away a last few paychecks in their recession-hit pension pots; I'm talking about the sort of linguistic larceny that I once used as a smug stick with which to beat our transatlantic cousins but which seems to have infected the mouths, pages and posts of our own shores like a pandemic of syntactical swine flu that makes you projectile vomit hyperbolic prefixes. Weary of very, exhausted by extremely, and definitely work shy of specificity, we are left with super. Observing the unlovely nativity of the superlativity of our language, I am equally repulsed and intrigued. Could it be that our bee-denuded, porn-polluted shambles of a world has become so risible to us that delight and delightfulness can only be found above and beyond, in some extraterrestrial Platonic realm untainted by our substandard reality? I keep dropping it into my conversation - 'but the sign was superambiguous, officer'; 'good lord, that's superlong' - in the hope that someone will give me a slap, but super seems to have become so subsumed into our society that no-one bats a supervolumised eyelash.

When everything is super, everything is average. It's a sleazy game of oneupmanship that turns conversation into a monologue of absolutes, refusing to admit that anything could be equal to the experience, let alone suprasuper, leaving no room for compassionate equivalence or questioning uncertainty.

Having said that, this is super.


(Mario Testino for German Vogue)