There has been much talk of late about ‘Good Samaritans’; recently a team of these wonderful people lifted a car off a Kiwi woman in England…
It was amazing; this woman had been knocked down by a London cab and medics were unable to extricate her from beneath the car’s wheels, so a group of citizens actually lifted the vehicle off her.
…Funny though, good as this was, I’ve never heard anything about ‘Bad’ Samaritans; people who help another then leave without saying goodbye, or perhaps help them then make light of their predicament or something.
This leads me to wonder, do Bad Samaritans even exist and if not, why the hell do we bother qualifying Samaritans with the ‘Good’ label?
By definition, a Samaritan is a kind or helpful person. The term ‘Samaritan’ originates from biblical times and the story of a man from ancient Samaria who helped a man in need after this man was bypassed by others.
A Samaritan is therefore a kind person; a good person. It is only through our ridiculous modern desire, or perhaps exhausted brain function, to mimic the speech patterns of other people because it’s so much easier than contriving our own, irrespective of how stupid or asinine the resulting phrasing sounds that the prefix ‘Good’ has been added. It’s like the word ‘rarely’. Most people struggle to use this word without preceding it with ‘very’, thus ‘very rarely’. What about ‘overweight’? Nobody casually refers to an emaciated person as ‘underweight’, yet an obese person is unthinkingly called ‘overweight’. Logically, given that their size is what we see we should be calling them ‘large’, but because ‘overweight’ is currently the fashionable term, also because that’s what everybody else says, that’s what we say.
Here’s an idea the people of New Zealand might like to entertain: instead of speaking in your uninspired jumble of clichés, idioms or other television-gleaned, hackneyed phrases, try thinking for yourself – think outside the … perimeter.
You don’t have to repeat something just because that was the way you last heard or saw it said or done. Reminiscent of the way Quade Cooper was treated as he ran from the field in the weekend’s Bledisloe Cup match; I guarantee nobody even remembers why they despise Quade Cooper – sure, he collared Aaron Smith in that match, but so what? It’s rugby – yet as typical Kiwis we’re still acting like immature little piss-ants just because that’s what our buddies are doing.
Back on task. ‘Rarely’ can be used without ‘very’. Numbers can be verbalised without being preceded with ‘like’. ‘Little’ can also be used without being preceded by ‘very’ and for Christ’s sake, ‘Samaritan’ should be used alone.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Mia God
Photography by Fris Traded