Here we are, two years later, and it’s hard to believe but the use of Oh My God has become even greater. It was largely a pervasive women’s phrase when I first blogged about it but it has now penetrated the vernacular to the point of being memetic, even among some men, usually those looking to expose their tender side.
Once upon a time I would have used the Urban Dictionary’s version of describing this hackneyed phrase to a foreigner curious about use of the English langauge: “An explanation of shock and surprise used by those who are shocked and surprised by almost everything and insert it into conversations whenever possible”. Kind of what you’d expect from a girl who wouldn’t know how or when to use an apostrophe. Other examples of colloquial uses of the phrase by the UD make it sound like a vapid conversation space-filler, yet I know some very bright and articulate people who have embraced the phrase with alacrity. I’ve moved beyond annoyance with hearing the phrase used as pre-ambulating linguistic filler. I give! Uncle! It’s not going away any time soon.
Please don’t think of me as elitist. I’ve come to enjoy hearing the OMG phrase (okay, more like being amused and entertained by its use). If not a meme, it’s a bit of a cultural attractor – in the sense that Dan Sperber describes how we model behavior. Have you considered what expression people will use when “Oh My God” is eventually phased out, as it will be? Holy Connoli just doesn’t have the same impact factor.