Saturday, April 5, 2014

Too Much Time on Their Hands

Despite being a great song by Styx, this is yet another of my linguistic pet peeves. It's not grammatically incorrect, or mispronounced, or anything like that, though. It's just kind of mean.

That is a zentangle. It's a specific type of black-and-white doodle that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. I'm a big fan of them, personally. I've heard a lot of responses to seeing a zentangle for the first time: that's impressive, how pretty, what a mess, I don't get it... but the worst one is "someone has too much time on their hands." Really? Do you say that when you see this:

Because I'm fairly certain that "Starry Night" took longer to create than an ink pen doodle on printer paper. (I don't know for certain; I wasn't there.) But they're both created for the same purpose... art. If you think all art is a waste of time, well, I'm probably not your friend. But at least you're giving them equal billing. But you shouldn't assume that one is a waste of time while the other is genius-quality artwork.

This goes for anything intricate, complex, or otherwise time-consuming. If someone spent enough time to create something that amazing, it's not a case of "too much time" with nothing "important" to do... it's something they've made time for because they wanted to. As someone (or many someones) said, time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted. I might think climbing Mt. Everest is a waste of time, personally, but the person who does that probably thinks all the YA fiction I read is a waste of time, or my cross-stitching, or blogging, or watching movies and TV I can quote in their entirety from memory.

So can we please, as the entire group of anglophones, stop using this phrase? It's rude, it's demeaning, and I don't much care for it.

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