DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m trying to figure out why “Karen” has become a name to use when talking about someone perceived as either out of control or a nasty person. I always thought of Karen as a pretty name and now it’s being used to make fun of people.
I have a few friends who have that as their name, and I feel for them. Some of my other friends have used it that way, and I’ve emailed them and gently told them it wasn’t a nice thing to do, as I know a lot of Karens who are really nice people.
I do realize I probably should not be playing the role of grammar police, especially with friends. So is there a way to politely ask people not to use “Karen” that way?
And while I’m at it, the “OMG” thing is driving me nuts, too. If it’s friends, I just let it go, but when an advertiser does it, I write to them to let them know I find it offensive to be taking the name of my God in vain.
And then I get two-faced about it and complain that too many people take offense at too many things.
GENTLE READER: There is a difference, Miss Manners assures you, between policing grammar and defending friends. The next time a Karen’s name is taken in vain, you may say, “Of course not our Karen; she is lovely.” And if you count G-d amongst your intimates, the same tactic (“not my G-d”) may well work for them.