Crossings cross us – 04/03/2024 – Sérgio Rodrigues

Crossings cross us – 04/03/2024 – Sérgio Rodrigues


Well done. The patrols of literalism spent so much time condemning the figurative use of “through” with the meaning of “by means of” that they took the trend of the verb “to cross” with all the meanings that it is possible to imagine, in addition to some unimaginable ones.

Will it be punishment? Some kind of linguistic justice? I wouldn’t rule out that possibility. Those who, in the name of supposed clarity, muddy the waters of the language by assuring the unsuspecting that Clarice Lispector was wrong when writing this: “Let no one be mistaken, I can only achieve simplicity through hard work” seems to deserve punishment.

Of course, there is no error in Clarice’s sentence. Although she could also have written “through a lot of work”, another option that the language offers, it was predictable that, with her fine ear, the author of “A Hora da Estrela” would opt for the consecrated and most used form in everyday life. . Simplicity is that too.

The explosion of new uses for crossing is far from simple. It’s actually the opposite, an ornamental fad. However, after exhausting oneself in such a difficult literalist battle (in the dictionary sense of “bad”), what credibility do style manuals have in pointing out the foolishness of a statement like “Cracked by sleep, I decided to sleep”?

It is worth clarifying that, although no one talks like that at the fair (“I’m afraid I’m going to regret it, customer, but for you, I’ll make two dozen for the price of one”), neocrossings are not isolated cases. It is a fad restricted to intellectual and academic circles, but in these environments it has become an epidemic.

It is important to avoid the literalist error of patrols. The metaphorical use of crossing, crossed and crossing has nothing “wrong” in itself. It is likely that he owes his immense success to the fact that he sounded clever in the speech and text of the first people who arrived there, capable of giving a poetic veneer to certain formulations.

However, as this is a clear case of vocabulary inflation, today there are so many meanings that they all end up being devalued, becoming a pulp.

“Crossed by revolt, I write these lines in a kind of trance.” “What obstacles contribute to school dropout?” “The curriculum is permeated by colonialism.” “The work promotes a crossing of past, present and future.” “My ancestry runs through me.”

Want more? Have more. “A climate crossed by uncertainty.” “I was struck by love the moment I saw you.” “The social crossing of bodies conditions destinies.” “We set up the program based on crossing axes.”

It would be interesting to investigate the psychosocial factors that support the trend of crossing, with its dramatic and even violent charge, ready to give an air of impalement to what could be described more precisely by a gallery of verbs in which they are included (the list is not exhaustive) influence, shape, touch, mark, run over, dominate, cross paths with, intercept, interfere, contaminate, hinder, harm.

If anyone wants to conduct such a study, I recommend haste. Like all overly successful fads, the neo-crossing fad is likely to drown in its own success within a few more years.

This was the fate, at other times in history, of academic blunders such as “making a statement” and “at the level of”, which today are in relatively rare use – thank goodness. It’s just that the human man gets sick. Crossing.

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