I have no objection to most uses of this word. “The pizza was good” is a perfectly valid, if subjective, statement as far as I’m concerned. (That is, as long as we’re all aware that it’s subjective and it’s OK for me to not like the pizza, even though you think it’s good.) What really gets up my nose is “Good” with a capital “G”– the kind that’s the opposite of “Evil” with a capital “E”.

Personally, I don’t think “Good” works as a descriptive term for much. Life is just too complex. I cried at my parent’s memorial service and someone said, “She was a good daughter.” Maybe it was a sweet sentiment but it was as meaningless a compliment as I could think of. “Good” because I was crying? (Right at that moment crying for my own sorry ass and my loss and certainly not for my parents at rest in the ground...) “Good” because I was attentive while they were alive? (Somebody had to do stuff for them, and I’m an only child...) “Good” because I never complained? (Maybe they just didn’t know me well enough to hear it...)

This may sound like a small-time gripe, but project it out for a moment to “That’s a good philosophy” or “Mine is a good Goddess” and attach all the same almost invisible strings that came with the “Good Daughter” statements. Nothing is ever simply “good”.
What this breeds is the same kind of amorphous absolute-sounding-but-actually-subjective view of the world as the loose use of the word “Evil”. But it’s really more insidious because it’s usually packaged in the form of a compliment.

What to do about it? Watch your mouth and your thinking will follow after. Try to love the complexity and subjectiveness in your life and precision in your speech. These aren’t easy things to do and I tend to doubt that anyone is ever completely successful at it. But striving to eliminate those useless words “Good” and “Evil” from our everyday vocabularies would be a start!

—Norma Hoffman