Read On: Buzz phrases have become quite the trend

I want you all to know something right off the bat this week, ladies and gentlemen. It's this: While I may eventually leave the Leader and the News-Press, I will never consciously uncouple from you.

You can take that to the bank.

The reason for this rather deep admission is the melancholy I'm feeling this week following the Tuesday announcement that Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, had decided on a "Conscious Uncoupling." Reading between the New Age-y lines, this apparently meant the married couple would be separating.

While it's admirable and refreshing in this time of nastiness and social-media nastiness to declare for all the world to see that you're both good people and don't hate one another, it's the idea that Paltrow would be so post-ironic as to use laughable Malibu-y touchy-feely language while splitting from her spouse.

It got me to thinking…Hey, I've done more than my share of "unconscious coupling" in my time, usually after a few too many cocktails. But conscious uncoupling? Not so much. In my case, the state of California has termed it "divorce" instead.

I'm also old enough to have done some acoustic coupling. But when that ended badly, you didn't need to reassure America about it.

Why has the "conscious uncoupling" thing drawn such ridicule Gwyneth's way in light of the gravity of what she was revealing? I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact she appears too delicate and perfect, so slender, so effortlessly beautiful, so entitled — in short, so much better than the rest of us. Even her marital splits are considerably deeper and more meaningful than our own. Grrrrr…

Then again, did we expect anything less from a lady who named her daughter Apple?

Being fairly obsessed with buzz terms and the way in which they color our lives, this new term for going your separate ways got me to thinking about the need for a few other new ones that more adequately describe a situation, a condition, an event.

I'm talking about things like…

Grande Canyon: The gulf that separates annoyed people waiting in line at Starbucks from the guy giving way too complex an order, as in, "I'll take a venti latte 2% triple-shot light syrup half-caf with a hint of vine-ripened orange peel."

Cognizant Interior-Digital Uplift: Flipping someone off.

Personal Internal Dialogue: Or what we might call talking to oneself.

PMS Envy: The condition suffered by men who admire the fact that pre-menopausal women are permitted a certain time each month to behave erratically.

Conscious Unraveling: Justifiable verbal attack, as directed at people who insist on conducting cellphone conversations while checking out in the grocery store line and texting behind the wheel.

Self-Directed Downsizing: Going on a diet.

Transitory Sentient Awareness Distortion: What we like to call daydreaming.

Mobile Vehicular Rapidity Inhibition: The phenomenon of getting stuck in traffic.

Ow Factor: When something you do is mitigated by the infliction of pain, personal or otherwise.

Stink Outside the Sox: The defiant act of wearing shoes over bare feet.

Drinking the Fool-Aid: What happens when someone says something that is irredeemably idiotic.

Oral Olfactory Undesirability: The new way of terming bad breath.

There are many others, of course. But I'm sure you get the idea. These little buzzy phrases too often pass for plain speech and calling something by its proper name. So let me interpret again the Gwyneth thing: She and her husband don't want to live together anymore, but they don't want it to appear they hate each other and they don't want a public quarrel in front of their two kids.

This is not only smart but classy and a standard to which other uncoupling couples should surely aspire. But then they had to kind of spoil it all by attaching a term to it that made it sound almost self-mocking.

It's OK, Gwyneth and Chris. We forgive you. But please also forgive me if I decide to term your sublimely civil new situation a split end.


RAY RICHMOND has covered Hollywood and the entertainment business since 1984. He can be reached via email at and Twitter at @MeGoodWriter

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World