Here’s a piece by Russell Working on cleaning up the brain rot. See also his wonderful story “Slava” on Numéro Cinq.
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 endemic 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.
In the giddy brains of an afflicted writer, Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas, anymore morphs the Guardian headline about high-tech Japanese potties: “Toto–we’re not on normal toilets any more.”
We? You mean, you and your little dog, too?
But even as writers flee major cities in panic, medical authorities are calling for calm. The condition isn’t hopeless. Here are some tips for de-worming our minds: