Let’s Be Purists

Here’s a phrase I’d like to see used only in its original context: “lowest common denominator.” I suggest we stick to purist principles and use these words only in relation to actual math problems. I’m feeling pretty done with hearing the expression applied to human beings, especially children. To be honest, I’ve used it myself in the past. But I’ve declared a personal moratorium on it.

Think about it. That kid who is struggling with his reading – he’s a real person. He’s someone’s child. The girl who takes a few minutes longer than your kid to figure out the least common denominator in math class – she’s a human, and she’s good at something that some of the other kids aren’t. Every child, and every adult for that matter, struggles with something, and nobody wants to be ridiculed for it.

If I want my humanity recognized, I need to recognize it in others, and not use dismissive terms. Lowest Common Denominator, I hereby by banish you from the realm of humanity-describing adjectives.

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One comment on “Let’s Be Purists

  1. alundeberg says:

    I have used that term, but never in reference to someone’s skills. I use it more as, “That book was written and mass marketed to the lowest common denominator.” Meaning, a generalized group of people who have no taste or standards and will be pleased by anything. I would never use it to describe a specific person– definitely have a moratorium on that one!

    Like

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