Urbandictionary.com defines it as “something Americans use to describe everything”—and that musing set local poet John Tottenham on a mission, to stamp out the use of the word “Awesome.” Tottenham launched the Campaign to Stamp Out Awesome, or CSOA, back in December, and momentum seems to be growing. He’s starting small, first trying to ban the word from his place of employment, Stories bookstore in Echo Park. The CSOA mission statement asks followers to “please try to restrict usage of this nauseatingly ubiquitous (and by now, completely meaningless) superlative to those of us who are under the age of 12.” Local bookstores and businesses are following suit and have started displaying the signs in their shop windows to show support for Mr. Tottenham's campaign.
Is the word an homage to California surf culture, an overused and meaningless catch-all, or both? Is Tottenham being a kill-joy, or does he have a point?
John Tottenham, L.A. poet, painter and journalist who launched the Campaign to Stamp Out Awesome