When can you stop reading?

A longtime faithful MR reader sends me this:

Here’s a question I seem to recall you asking before (What? Me search?) but could probably use an update…What are the phrases which allow you to stop reading, safe in the knowledge that you won’t learn anything?  My classic examples are “bankster” and “feminazi,” which were great when they were current because they normally appeared so quickly in any given argument. But they’re both a little dated now, so while they’re still accurate, their base rates are too low to be really useful.

My current favorites are “Drumpf” and “media bias,” the latter being particularly strong since it negates both Trump AND Sanders adherents. I’m also fond of “obstructionist” but you usually have to read a ways to get to it. Anything that suggests that any officeholder or candidate is unintelligent works great, but there’s no catchphrase, and “stupid” can appear with enough honest referents that it doesn’t work on it’s own. (I’m tempted to add “prior_approval,” but that’s cheating.)
Thoughts? (Or those of your readers if you’re inclined to ask.)

A few points:

1. Simple lack of content is by far the number one reason why I simply “stop reading,” not objectionable catchphrases.

2. Perhaps more arrogantly, I like to think my pre-selection filters already keep me away from such cases, or they have indicated to me I have some reason for reading on nonetheless.

3. As of late I have found the word “extreme” to be a special turn-off, at least in the context of politics.  Better to just sub in the phrase “I feel it has to be wrong but I am not going to tell you why, so I’ll just snobbily hint at its inappropriateness, while simultaneously and falsely pretending to have a connection to what is commonly thought.”

I also am not keen on reading the two words “Main Street,” unless it is a biography of Sinclair Lewis, or perhaps something actually did happen on Main Street somewhere.  Even then I wonder.  Nonetheless my favorite Afghan restaurant — with halal fish and chips by the way — is on…Main Street, Fairfax.

Your thoughts?  What do the bankster feminazis out there have to say on this?


"Inequality"--jeeze do we all have to be equal? The word stops me reading right away.

Ha. That's a real timesaver.

I stop reading at "New York Times", Washington Post", "MorOn.org."

I assume you mean MoveOn.org. For some reason, I am on their email list and I must say that I enjoy their missives. I also enjoy Crazy Bernie's antics; I will miss him when he finally goes down in a blaze of super delegates.

"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal
before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter
than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was
stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the
211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing
vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. "

Harry Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut


The most wonderful book. And terrifyingly prophetic.

Made a pretty nice TV movie of it too.

Are you OK with "Disparate Impact"?

Sheeple. You're all low-information voter sheeple.

I was going to say the same thing. McMansion is in the same category, a valueless sneer at the common man.

I'm not sure many "common men" own McMansions. By definition, they have to be very large homes. McMansion is more akin to the old criticism that one has "more money than taste".

"McMansion" is a house bigger than a 1950's ranch house.

Your going to bias your inputs by filtering on the term "media bias".

Not that the term doesn't get abused, but the issue is a real one and serious articles on it are written, and will be caught by Tyler's filter. Somewhat the same is true of "extreme".

The term "media bias" is most often found in low-quality content. However, filtering out anything that discusses media bias would be a bad idea.But that's probably true of any "keywords".

Actually, the idea that you can identify and reject certain viewpoints based on keywords seems to be part of the problem, not the solution.

Note the egocentric use of 'First Person Pronouns' when attempting to state supposed facts.

First Person Pronouns generally weaken one's statement and mark it as likely opinion rather than fact.

The referenced "longtime faithful MR reader" repeatedly uses first person pronouns, which immediately labels his/her/its statements as narrow anecdotal conjecture.

This is akin to the keyword idea--actually worse, because it claims to discriminate on something unrelated to the actual content.

There is no simple heuristic to evaluate the quality of discourse (as nice as that would be). You actually have to read and understand the arguments.

I might use first person pronouns to make clear that this is my reasoning, and not a claim of universal truth. Can you really lay out your logic without them? Perhaps with stilts

"Media bias" is usually an unsubstantiated statement, or one which relies on huge double standards on the part of independent outlets that are 10 times more biased than the media they critique.

But sometimes there are very concrete discussions of media bias which are informative.

Media bias is a lot like people. Many outlets, once you read a couple articles on particular issues, you're likely to be able to predict which sides of most issues they will portray positively or negatively (but not usually toooo obviously, because most like to maintain some illusion that they are not very biased).

I find that about 90% of the time I can tell what the content of an article will be by looking at the source and reading the headline. I think that says something about the biases in media and the amount of information conveyed by the average news article.

“Ponzi”, “fiat money”, “superstate”, “an ethics of”, “a politics of”, "based on", "underpinning", "root cause", "europhobe", "tranzi", "multiculti", "gross", "a commodity to be", "cultural marxism", "liblabcon", "sovereignty"

Especially "root cause". The current PM of Canada, when he was in opposition, was heavily attacked for wanting to understand "root causes of terrorism". The delusional post-smoking West-hating terrorist-loving pansy thought blankets and winter jackets for refugees was an appropriate part of the package.

Clearly, the appropriate solution is to drop more bombs and engage in more covert assassinations. It will predispose their neighbours to like us, and therefore reduce terrorism. Efforts to place more boots on the ground for pinpointed battlefields tactics and to reduce high collateral damage through aerial bombing are a threat to national security.

Did Justin stop terrorism yet?

Maybe he needs to hug them tighter.

Indeed. Terrorism is Canada's #1 problem.

Well there was a homeless drug addict mentally ill man who shot someone. And another guy who drove into some police officers hoping to start resistance against the police state (his words, not generally reported).

We've got far more important issues to worry about, like pine beetles, migratory birds and long-term viability of salmon fisheries.

But maybe we should drop more bombs on foreign countries just to see if it will bring them around to moderation. That will help.

Has Canada actually dropped bombs on any foreign countries since, say, 1918?

Does snow count?


That wasn't hard - but then, missing WWII might have been a hint.

Libya. ISIS. Balkans. The last of which intervention turned out to have probably been both well motivated and not incompetently executed.

Considering that terrorists are mainly well-to-do engineers, I doubt winter blankets are going to help much

Shhh. Why spoil the delusions of children by telling them that there is no Santa Claus.

This is hilarious. Let's reject anything with the words "based on", because it was used in a way I didn't like one time!

One time? I actually counted up the abuses in a random (but doubtless biased) sample, and it was more like 98% of the time.

Yes Smith uses "banksters" and is still worth reading. Bruce Bartlett insists on "wankers --I asked him to stop--and is still very much worth reading.

How about "police state"?

Anyone who talks about any police state-esque things in any Western country needs to confined to a mental health facility where they can be reformed to understand that they are delusional and crazy.

Also, "conspiracy".

Anyone who discusses any possibility of "conspiracy" also needs to be heavily medicated and permanently discredited with a mental health diagnosis. Because we all know that no one in any government anywhere in any time, most especially not in America, has ever in engaged in any conspiracy whatsoever.

I don't know why we bother with the people in white coats. Why not just make it outright illegal to theorize about police abuses or conspiracies and ask the people with badges to throw these nuts straight in prison? I mean, who needs due process when dealing with people who are such a threat to public safety and national security?

Because everyone knows that police states and conspiracies never happen.

'Anyone who talks about any police state-esque things in any Western country needs to confined to a mental health facility where they can be reformed to understand that they are delusional and crazy.'

Well, that or a jail cell - just ask Snowden. And anyone who remains willfully ignorant of the massive surveillance state that is modern America is probably unaware of what made places like the DDR so effective as a police state, too.

I think Troll me was being sarcastic.

Quite possibly - that 'reformed' was quite close to 're-education,' which would have been a real tip off.

But the problem these days is with how many people actually maintain what was written as somehow being appropriate.

And this line - 'I mean, who needs due process when dealing with people who are such a threat to public safety and national security?' applies to American policy right now - as expressed by its supporters, not its detractors.

Poe's law, as always, of course.

Yes, I was recently introduced to the term "Zersetzung": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zersetzung. Is it possible to out-Stasi the Stasi?

Fortunately, patriotic groups like Citizen's Watch, Infraguard, etc., are out there to help us. Good people don't have to trouble themselves with worrying about lists, because there's no way to find out how you get on the list or whether you're on the list (well, actually you probably know if you are) - which also removes the inconvenience of having to trouble yourself with how you might get off the list if you ever get on one.

Those American patriots will due their community service and monitor, report on, etc., any target or security threat who they are made away of, without the need to worry about allocating police resources in cases where it's not possible to obtain a warrant. No questions asked. Useful idiots? I sort of hope so, because at least that means there's hope to knock some sense into them.

Anyways, I haven't spent more than a few hours in the US for several years, so without hitting the pavement it's sort of hard to tell the disinformation and intimidation from legitimate reports. (The media, of course, is loathe to undermine confidence in government, except for their favourite political targets. Sometimes omission is so severe that it is a lie. I cannot imagine that they are collectively unaware of such thing.)

I promise to report for a psych evaluation just as soon as I complete my line by line search of certain segments of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” for any hints of scientific content and reporting on peer-review scientific evidence which explains technologies (and viewpoint diversity) which can explain most "symptoms", in addition to official documentation of long-standing (and successful) intelligence and "defence" programs to perform experimentation (research) to refine such technologies.

'Is it possible to out-Stasi the Stasi?'

Yes. As mentioned for at least 15 years to a number of East German co-workers, the U.S. is running the world's first profitable surveillance state - Stasi was a massive burden on the DDR's resources, but in the U.S. people are than happy to pay for EZ-Pass, to give one trivial example. Privacy laws are essentially non-existent, and Facebook/Whatsapp has a real incentive to collect as much information as possible in the pursuit of profit. That its customers include a wide variety of government agencies is just another one of those public/private synergies the Stasi were tasked to stamp out.

And what is really amusing is how open this is for anyone to read about it in the business sections of major media outlets. Stasi was secretive in the extreme - the American for profit surveillance state feels little need to be so paranoid.

Reading Troll Me sincerely, I agree. "Police State" and "conspiracy" are overused, unless you are Jesse Walker.

2. Yes, too much arrogance.

I suspect that within the next couple years looking for stopwords will become totally irrelevant.

Internet companies like google and facebook already do a good job of guessing who is likely to appreciate an article and it's only a matter of time before someone packages this kind of technology in some kind of browser plugin or web service and based on your past feedback a warning pops up on articles you likely to dismiss outright.

Hemingway anticipated that a long time ago, but not in your phone. Maybe it's like the state capitals -- you don't need to remember them anymore because Wikipedia will have them. Now, your smartphone will do what Hemingway did in his head.

Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him.


"Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him"

Agreed. To demonstrate, whenever I see any link or article from "The Atlantic", I automatically know to avoid.

What if the link is to Vox, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg View, the San Jose Mercury News, Der Spiegel, or the LA Review of Books? Those publications should require readers to sign a waiver that they acknowledge they are going to see highly biased libtard crap written by sheep who have no intention but to promote a Democratic agenda, with a long-term goal of taking down the US.

"libtard". One where I stop reading.

You reliably discredit certain sources. Which suggests that you have knowledge of some good sources. Where can one find high quality news or scientific reporting these days?

That doesn't follow. You can be aware that a specific source is unreliable without having any better source available.For example whale.to or naturalnews are totally unreliable and citations of them can be safely ignored.

Whale.to has a lot of references for certain subjects that are too outlandish for most to consider. But I agree that there's a lot of bunk there too. I've referred to it for some things, but would definitely not cite it.

I agree with your point. But The Atlantic is, I believe, one of the better sources for investigative journalism these days. Which is not to say that they are always right or that the positions taken are necesassarily the ones that should reasonably flow from the research.

"Shill" is thrown around as a meaningless accusation for anyone supporting anything tangentially "establishment".

"be that as it may", "let's face it", "increasingly," or anything else indicating content-free "news"

I'd put "studies show" on that list.

Any of the newer uses of "privilege". It means someone is about to say something of thermonuclear stupidity.

Anything that smacks of deconstructionism or the lingering stench of po-mo.

I prefer "some people's uphill battles are steeper than others."

I prefer "blessings". "Count your blessings" was a constant refrain in my childhood. It means the same thing as "check your privilege" but you don't come off like a dick.

I like this, also "blessings" is a positive concept, where "privilege" is negative. Or maybe more accurately, privilege is zero-sum while blessings is not.

Agreed. It's a waste of time to read most social justice literature. The remainder isn't good enough to justify the investment.

Yep. I'd throw 'PoC' in there, too. Seems very odd that the same people who will tell you there's no such thing as "race" still want to rhetorically segregate everybody into 'white' and 'people of color,' as if two very broad, very lumpy categories was better than eight or ten or whatever.

Ha, at first I thought you meant "proof of concept."

Anyway, I haven't given this any thought before, but my choice would be SJW. Usually indicates lazy thinking on either side of the spectrum.

This would make a great machine learning application. Google and Facebook are doing it, of course, but I'd like to explicitly control my own filter.

AIG is also turning out to be a reliable indicator.

I think Facebook is pretty good for a filter. I just ignore anything recommended that isn't what I signed up for.

"My favorite Afghan restaurant" is a good indicator that it is not worth reading, because the author is just trying to be pretentious by pretending to like food that is identical in every way to 16 other countries cuisines, all of which consist of a single dish. It's also a good indicator the author lives in DC, and hence is vapid.

be that as it may central asian cuisine is fine

Can you really have a "cuisine", if all two of your dishes are actually from someone else's cuisine?

I mean, we don't say...pasta...is American cuisine, simply because we also eat pasta.

I actually agree with you that it is mostly very similar (variations of nan, dumplings and palau/plov), but that doesn't mean it's not good. And whether it was stolen from somewhere else is a meaningless distinction--you can argue about it forever.

The thing about Central Asian food is that using crappy ingredients can produce a rather bad product, so how it's prepared matters more than which country's version of it you're eating. But done well, it is quite decent, just nothing amazing.

I didn't say it's not good. It's hard to think of any country's food that isn't good, at some level, and to a point (except Ethiopian. That is truly vile).

But it's not their cuisine. And there's nothing wrong with saying...we don't have a cuisine. Just a bunch of food (well, 2-3 dishes in total since that's all the variety consists of), that we borrowed from others.

Afghani food offers a good compromise for some between the blandness of Iranian food and the reliance on spices in the Indian subcontinent.

There is also a strong emphasis on integrating fruits and vegetables into savoury meat-based foods which is not very common across the range of Turkish\Arab\Central Asian\North Indian cuisine.

All Persian/Central Asian and most ME dishes use fruits abundantly in most dishes: raisins, dates, pomegranate seeds, other stuff I can't recognize etc. And nuts too. Not much of a distinction there I think.

I just find it amusing that every country pretends to have its own cuisine, when they all have the exact identical same foods. What I find more amusing is how vapid DC restaurateurs think that there's a difference between an Afghan restaurant and an Tajik restaurant and an Iranian restaurant. So many choices!

In the end, it's just one variety of Indian rice dish and one variety of Turkish kebab.

I think we've reached "peak cuisine" at this point. But hey, if it gets money out of DC hispters by pretending to be something more "exotic", all the more power to them.

The funny thing is that these niche ethnic restaurants are 1) mostly not in DC, but in the suburbs, 2) smallish mom and pop shops, and 3) cheaper than trendy hipster hangouts in the city. But keep the hate alive and the misplaced assumptions strong! :-)

Yeah, speaking as a recovering hipster, those people would not go to Fairfax if you paid them.

Sorry, you probably don't know any...real...hipsters. Just pretend hipsters.

Real hipsters only eat in mom-and-pop shops in ethnic neighborhoods outside of the city. They gauge the authenticity of the ethnic food by the amount of flies buzzing over your head, the amount of screaming and yelling by the natives in the restaurant, and whether or not the owner gives a s**t about serving you.

Bro, you should come eat with me sometime. I know this tots' authentic Vietnamese restaurant in someone's converted house which is only ever frequented by chain-smoking Vietnamese dudes in leather jackets, most of whom are missing an eye or an ear. It makes the most authentic bubble tea you'll ever have!

How can a country so ethically divided share a common cuisine?

I meant to write ethnically. Does it not make more sense to speak of cuisine at a regional and ethnic level in a country like Afghanistan?

The entire Central Asian land mass, and most of the ME, share the same cuisine. That's why there is no such thing as Afghan cuisine.

Besides, Afghan restaurants are soooo 2014. All the cool bros are into Balochi cuisine these days.

Here I was, thinking they were so 1990 - there was a really good one in Arlington, maybe a mile from the GMU Arlington campus. Though restuarant might be overstating it, of course - but the naan, made fresh in an apparently self-made clay tandoor oven was fantastic. The dough was thrown against the side, and taken out and served when it dropped to the bottom. The tandoor was only used for the bread - which you had to wait for, as it was truly only made when an order was placed.

Afghan restaurants are more like 2007, I think. 1990 was more of the Indian restaurant phase. Either way, Tyler is waaayyy behind all the other cool bros.

There's also atmosphere. But you're probably right.

Backwards. Anyone who complains about anyone else enjoying a meal should shut up and suck their Soylent(TM).

I'm not complaining. I'm just saying...it's an indication that it's not worth reading.

It's the equivalent of a food selfie: I get it, you ate an egg! Thanks for sharing the photo of your egg with me for the 39th time this week.

This is not a keyword filter, it's a bit more complicated:

Yesterday my 83-year old mother, born in the Czech Republic said to me: "Nowadays, when I listen to politicians they reminds me of the politicians under communism. They managed to say things that were materially correct, but still had no meaning at all."

Pretty much nothing good ever follows "argument for open borders"....

When the word "literally" is used to mean "figuratively".

Literally a misuse, then?

I am more in line with Tyler's original point, vacuity of arguments or just stupidity of them irrespective of specific words used. Just to annoy almost all the commenters here, stopping reading something because of a single word or phrase is a priori a stupid thing to do.

Exhibit #1 of why you're wrong:...can you point to any post, ever in the history of the internet, with the title "xyz markets in everything" (fill in the blank for xyz)... which was worth reading?



My friend said to me, You know what I like? Mashed potatoes. I was like, Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you're going to quiz me you have to insert a pause.

RIP Mitch. Loved that guy.

It's a rhetorical question, so I already know the answer. Hence, no need for a pause.

I agree with you. But because people are the way they are, when editing economic manuscripts I'm always on the lookout for keywords that would lead ideologists to drop the document for the fact of using a certain word, or a specific way an argument is presented, and suggest other ways that the same things can be said in a manner that will preserve accessibility for ideologists.

"Uberization" has been the worst catchphrase lately.

in politics the word "sources" means no substance
and in tech/science "may"


Diverse. That's when you know...you've took a wrong corner somewhere.

Pass the Soylent(TM).

Vibrant and Diverse.

That's when you know, you've stumbled into Newark NJ :)

I read full-time to edit The Browser, and I abandon a hundred articles for every one that I finish. I generally stop if I hit "eponymous", or "toxic", or "trigger warning", or "make no mistake". Summary labelling of anything in an article as "complex" means that the writer does not understand or cannot explain the material. I don't often read beyond headlines that use the words "surprising", "secret", "really", "not" or "... and why it matters". Any headline ending in a question mark is a bad sign. I know writers don't usually write their own headlines, but the headline represents a best effort to say what is useful in the article by a sympathetic person who has been paid to read it.

"Any headline ending in a question mark is a bad sign."

Really? Maybe sometimes. A lot of supremely low grade stuff does that, and sometimes is used to plant ideas for things that you couldn't say outright, like "Is Obama the devil?" as compared to "Obama is the devil!", the second of which only reached the most hardcore of haters.

But it's also the best way to broach a topic when you know that potential readers will be skeptical. If you just said outright, "Unlikely thing X is SOOOO true!" you are stuck preaching to the choir. If you say "Could unlikely thing X be possible? The following argument will surprise you", then you reach beyond the choir.

I vaguely recall learning in grad school awhile back that contemporary bibliometric studies suggested that academic papers with titles containing a question mark were cited less on average in many fields.

Interesting. I'm working on a submission and think the "title containing a question" approach might be useful. I've been leaning towards a different title that just mentions the topical keyword and the policy recommendation after the semi-colon. I think you might have just clinched it.

It's tough to work on things outside of the mainstream because you've gotta find a way to either a) place it within the mainstream even if it isn't or b) open the minds sufficiently to access non-marginal audiences.

Toxic is a good one. I mention some similar ones in my comment below. "Troubling" and "problematic" really jump out at me. They are weasel-words to express personal displeasure but somehow make that private feeling seem like a universal phenomenon.

Well stated - it's combines being pure assertion (this is problematic, full stop) with being mealy mouthed to the point of meaningless. It's for use when you can't say that something is illegal, or inethical, or cruel, or any other concrete word - it's just generically "problematic"

I Control-F'ed for "Problematic". Thanks. I'm hearing it everywhere. Please make it stop.

Eponymous is a useful - and I thought uncontroversial - adjective. What's the problem here?

"Prosocial" - particularly here in the UK. As in: If you don't particularly want to hand over your entire wealth and income to the State - then you're really not very... prosocial.

IARPA is trying to solve the problem of useless articles clogging up intelligence analysts' desktops by automating the colation and filtering out of bad arguments in texts with the CREATE program

I find it hard to be convinced to continue reading anything written recently. I wade through the same themes over and over with so little new of value I turn instead back to stuff written hundreds or thousands of years ago by long dead dudes.

This too is vanity...

I stop reading any time I see the word "clearly."

There are two things in tech articles that, for me, signal that I will get little interesting information if I proceed:

1. The headline ends with ": What You Need to Know."

2. The article starts with the word "Imagine."

Cowen has expressed a dislike for the term "sustainable", but I don't think it has anything to do with the duration of coitus - which, on average, is only five to seven minutes according to Esquire.

Anything longer than 30 seconds is time wasted.

Here's what Jonathan Franzen has to say: "Most books I pick up I put down without finishing, either because the writing is weak or feels false, or because I sense an absence of skin in the game."

For those looking for a rule of thumb, I once heard you should subtract your age from 100 and the difference is how many pages you should give a book before abandoning it.

"neoliberal" is my current bugaboo, but very occasionally there will be some strong content despite the word. Otherwise, it's pretty easy to tell when a piece will have actual content and arguments and when it won't.

Stop reading what? One obvious red flag is when terms and issues are so poorly defined (or are left undefined) that it implies the writer has rejected clarity for simplicity. New data (facts) may appear in unexpected places, but it seems to me that we have 2 large categories of non-fiction writing: presentation of new facts and review of facts and their implications. Most writing is done to entertain, while the most valuable writing also informs. I am not smart enough to know what the writer's motives are by reading the writing, but the issue here is at what point does the cost outweigh the benefit of continuing to invest time and mental brain power in a particular piece. Well, obviously it depends on how busy you are, who the author/publisher is, and what the subject is. All of which is highly variable. If someone has a one-size-fits-all for this, they're either a lot smarter than me, or a lot dumber. OTOH, what I do (at least I think I do) is a Turing test like appraisal of the question "Is what I am reading written knowledgeably, intelligently and carefully?" I also, simultaneously, look for novelty. I'd guess most people have two motivations: to inform themselves and to acquire a narrative [which (among other things) will enable them to better communicate (the old form and function dichotomy)]

The misapplication or over-generalization of terms is one red flag, as is the use of most labels. Does labeling something as feminist, conservative, extreme, etc. inform? How about when a piece is inflammatory? Cultural genocide, communism, rich,...

Troubling, problematic, "I can't even understand how...", safe space, triggering, insane, unbelievable.

All for similar reasons to Tyler's thoughts on "extreme." People are using "extreme" language to generate more outrage about what they are talking about.

Also, any of the typical click bait headline styles: "this is what happened," "here's what you need to know about", "here's why such and such is so important."

The Conservative View of... Or What Conservatives Think of...

Endless variations of the same thing. I haven't the faintest clue what the articles are about. I don't stop reading them, I simply don't even start.

Straussian is the word that stops me!


When someone says something about "surplus value", I stop reading.

Also, "false consciousness" or something that implies a similar concept.

If I stumble across either of those, I know the writer is either a Marxist, or someone who is unaware that their thinking derives from Marxism, which is if anything worse.

"Surplus value" couldn't be used for basic microeconomics of consumer & producer surplus?

Speak truth to power.

How about "self censor and ROLL OVER, doggie"?

"the rich" or "the wealthy"...as in "Recent product innovations favor the wealthy"

Although there are exceptions, there are some words that should have stopped me from reading on. "Neoliberal" is typically used as a pejorative term and means that the person knows nothing about economics. "Sustainability" is an aspirational term that also indicates that the person has a very poor understanding of economics, These and other catch words that encompass a value judgment rather than being merely descriptive are signals that the person is using emotional arguments. Globalization used to be a pejorative term, but is now used by people of many persuasions. I have found that when the author is labeled a bio-ethicist that generally means the person has not thought through the arguments very well and the essay is likely to use the word commodification, a term used by neo-Marxists (last term used ironically).

Cis, trigger, privilege, "identify as", #BLM, All Lives Matter, justice.

"Fair share"

Any jargony business world buzzword will do it for me. These days, I'm particularly annoyed by sentences that begin with "Going fowward..."

But at the end of the day, it's a win-win, net net.

"Koch Brothers" (unless it's actually a business article about Koch industries or one of the brothers) or "Koch Conspiracy".

I run for the hills when I read, or hear "at the end of the day."

When a news story begins by 'setting the scene' ("It was a cold and blustery morning on the JFK tarmac...") I immediately stop reading, or skim until the actual article begins with pertinent quotes, facts, and figures. I read too much poor amateur fiction in college to tolerate it now. This practice seems to have accelerated during Abramson's tenure at the NYTs (one of her priorities was to ditch the Times' 'Voice of God' style and use a more popular narrative approach--which, I guess, worked for Jesus so maybe it will work for newspapers?) and has gone into overdrive because of the election. Reporters desperately want their readers to know they were there. It grates me.

Beyond that, I make a special effort to continue reading whenever a word or phrase compels me to stop. "One-percenter," "privilege," and "identity/identify as" are common examples that show the writer's brain is on auto-pilot. I seldom learn anything new about the world but do learn a lot about the writer and social and ideological class to which the writer belongs. (It's worth noting these politically charged words and phrases appear, casually, in seemingly innocuous places like cnet.com and the BBC science section.) I've learned the media class is extremely malleable and almost uniformly adaptive, like those large schools of fish that react in near-perfect unison to stimuli. Ben Rhodes understood this.

Thinking further, I do stop listening or reading when someone trots out any of Obama's trite phrases. "Changes the calculus." "False choice." "There are those who say..." It tells me the writer or speaker is in a partisan mood, not an analytical mood. And dismissing arguments as a 'false choice' is rarely correct, because choices often come as dichotomies. Rather it tells me the writer would prefer to dismiss valid points than contend with them--which, granted, is much easier.

This commenter is very smart.

I would also add "conservative critics." It's an obvious sign that the writer is trying to dismiss some inconvenient fact. For instance, the NYT will never come out and say that Hillary illegally ran the State Department from a private server, and that only she will ever know what took place on it. But they will tell you that this is something that upsets her "conservative critics."

He's a regular on McMegan's comments feed at Bloomberg.

The entire content of that server is in the hands of the FBI, and to date the only faults they've found were a handful of messages among 20,000 which may have related to "classified documents" but which did not actually contain any classified information.

Also, similar practices were used by Republicans in previous administrations, and they were never investigated for that.

I love this question. Recently I was reading a statement by a prominent liberaltarian. He littered his essay with terms like "Hayekian" and "Rawlsian" in the first paragraph. It reminded me of a prominent paleolibertarian, who littered his essay with the words like "Rothbardian" and "Hoppean". Stop doing this. We'll give an exception only for Machiavellian and Hobbesian.

Other contenders:

1. "The Myth of..."
2. libtard
3. Cockservative
4. neoliberal
5. neocon
6. "School-to-Prisons pipeline"
7. Any deviation of President Obama's name.
8. Any deviation of Jesus Christ's name. (mechanical jesus, treesus, story jesus, etc.)

I'm proud to say I've never actually encountered "cuckservative" except in the context of someone mentioning things that Trump supporters like to say. I'm fortunate to not have anyone in my family or circle of friends retarded enough to support Trump.

Here are a few that go beyond individual words or phrases:

1. The author tries to prove a point using statistical information but clearly has no understanding of the basic concepts of statistics (percent vs percentage point, tiny sample sizes, etc).

2. The author tries to prove a point by citing random Twitter posts (bonus points if they all have egg pictures).

3. Any flagrant violation of "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity".

4. The author expects me to feel sympathetic for someone who is clearly an idiot or otherwise undeserving of sympathy.

"Globalist" and "Uniparty" are two terms often used by ill-informed idiots, many of whom support a like-minded person for President.

Not to complain, but unless you fry your fish & chips in lard, they are pretty much always halal (by most schools of jurisprudence).


1) "disrupt" "disruptive" etc. is good for filtering out a lot of businessy silicon-valley worship type crap over the last few years.

2) "microagression" "privilege" and all the new gender words are good for filtering out a lot of boring stuff.

3) "Bayesian" and "priors" are good for filtering out a particularly obnoxious sort of commentary.

Any critical mention of Sarah Palin, I stop. (I suppose such a mention might be justified in a critical analysis of Alaska state government from 2006 to 2009, but I wouldn't have started that article.)

'wired', as in "we're wired to behave this way"

"Assigned" in the context of gender. Actually, I would love to quit at "gender" but there would be nothing else left to read.

Generally bad-words, words that are meant to establish something is bad without explaining why, e.g.

although some [bad_guy] think that...
anything ending -phobic or -ist

A somewhat related category is pre-judgement words, which are used to pass of a partisan or poorly supported assumption of the cause of something as a factual description of that thing, e.g.

"underprivileged" or "deprived" instead of "low-income" or "poor"
"undereducated" instead of "stupid"
"lucky few" or "most privileged" instead of "richest"
"give something back" instead of "be taxed"

Although most of these have simply become stock phrases that people don't really think about, and so arguably lost their power, I notice that pretty much all of them skew discussion in a left direction. I am not sure I can think of a right equivalent of these that wouldn't sound obviously partisan, while those I listed would almost always be preferred to the value-neutral alternative in any quality publication.

When I have read "very" three times in the same paragraph, I stop.

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