Russians have a phrase for those clichés that burrow into the mind like brain worms: slova-parazity, or “word parasites.”
Though seldom fatal, the disorder can be devastating, and it has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Doctors report that victims suffer the loss of original thought and endure hypnotic spells in which they type strings of words we’ve all heard many times before.
Brain imaging reveals these word parasites are hackneyed phrases and variations on pop lyrics, movie lines, and old ad campaigns. Afflicted writers are unable to write the word father without foggily recalling the “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign, causing them to spout phrases like Not Your Father’s GOP or Not Your Father’s Censorship.