I hate clichés. A cliché is an unoriginal thought or saying that enables the speaker/writer to avoid having to think or write anything original and is therefore the antitheses of an idea. You hear them all time, in the bars, on the TV talk, in the society columns, in the headlines of this otherwise fine publication?one cliché after another strung out like a garland of stale popcorn on the Christmas tree of mediocrity. Take, for instance, this overused, gleamless gem of the global-warming age that I heard again today: ?You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.? Oh, vomit. This is a particularly malevolent cliché. For starters, it?s a no-win scenario. You hear it and at first you think, ?Well, yes, I must be part of the problem because there are so many problems in this world that I have done nothing to solve. It is my fault, the war. It is my fault terrorism rules the earth and Clear Channel rules the universe. Call my SARS ?Lars,? because I am the carrier. It is my fault James Gandolfini hasn?t signed his HBO contract yet. I killed Bon Scott. I ate the last chicken wing. I gave Scott Stapp his first home karaoke machine. I don?t know who wrote the aforementioned cliché, but I know I?d like to rewrite it: ?Either you are part of the solution or you are part of the problem or? I don?t know, maybe you?re just neutral. Maybe you have to work 50 hours a week and raise a family and you just don?t have enough time to solve all the world?s goddam problems.?OK, Sure, I?ll concede the point that the people who are The Problem are usually also the people who are not The Solution. But, the people who are not The Solution are not always the people who are The Problem. Furthermore, the people who say, ?You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem? are also part of the problem. Because they aren?t saying anything useful, true or forward thinking, thereby murking the whole ?solution? process with their rigidity of mind. I hate clichés. The only thing worse than a cliché is a wrong cliché. If you?re going to be unoriginal you should at least be unoriginally correct no? Well, the solution/problem cliché is not correct. It?s just plain wrong, dumb, stupid, wrong-ass wrongness spiraling down into the septic tank of wrongosity. Here?s why:The sentence, ?You are either part of the solution or part of the problem,? is known as a disjunctive syllogism. In a disjunctive syllogism the operative words are Either and Or:To disprove a disjunctive syllogism, one merely need find one exception to the formula. For instance, if the syllogism reads, ?You are either part of the cookie or you are part of the typewriter? you could point out that your rectum is part of neither, thus damning the credibility of the entire syllogism. So here?s my exception: You are sitting at home alone one night, drinking red wine and cranking ?For Those About to Rock? on your stereo so loud that you never hear the sounds of a violent assault happening just outside. Here is a case where I was neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. I was just part of the rocking out. There are a thousand more exceptions, but the proof is in the putty. This cliché is wrong and oppressive. It is guilting in nature, insulting by design and not at all productive in the grand scheme of beans. In other words?it?s syllo-Jism.Same with Bush?s asinine policy on terrorism, ?You are either with us or against us.? Us, us, us. It?s always about us. This must be why were called the U.S., because the U.S. is us. Forget about you, what about US? What do you think of US? Why don?t you love US? Shouldn?t a society be permitted to exist without having a position on US? I?m quite certain the Basseri Nomads of Southern Persia couldn?t give a poppy seed about America?s problems: ?Um, Mr. President, we have intelligence reports that the Basseris are not with US in the war on terror?recommend ground war.??That?s a little harsh, Karl.??How about a smart bomb campaign???Absolutely not!??Assassinations???Oh, Karl, you old Texas coot?you?re too much!??Impose sanctions sir???Hmmm. Sanctions? Yes, Mr. Rove, sanctions. We must impose sanctions on the Basseri Tribe of the Khamseh Confederacy. We must boycott all Basseri products. People of the US, pour out your bottles of Basseri designer blow dart poison. Trash your Basseri Nipple Weights. Burn your brassieres. In fact, don?t even call them brassieres. From now on, they?re called freedom cups! Throw your freedom cups into the flaming garbage can of liberty, ladies. To everything there is a purpose?burn, burn, burn!? Oh, Mr. President. That ?with-us-or-against-us? tedium is the stalest popcorn on the garland. If I were your speechwriter, I would have written it differently. My speech would have said, ?You are either with US, or against US, or, hey, don?t regard US at all, because America is not so lame and arrogant that everything has to revolve around US all the time, and if we were so lame and arrogant that everything had to revolve around US, well then fuck US. US sucks. I wouldn?t align with US either, and or or. © E-mail US at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.