Iconic

Iconic

You must have noticed how the word ‘icon’ is now much overplayed
In ordinary conversation we seem to hear it almost every day
Historically the word was used to describe a religious work of art
Nowadays applied to distinguish some object thus setting it apart

In the digital age icons are used to represent a useful ‘application’
Click on the app’s icon and its faculties leap into action
So in this case the icon is a symbol representing a function
The graphic and the routine working in conjunction

Now we seem to have decided that anything exceptional is ‘iconic’
From a well recognized brand name to a modern health tonic
Thus everyday symbols like those for Apple, Coke or Dyson
Stimulate in our minds a sort of anticipatory frisson

All this is good for the salesmen and marketing gurus
But I wonder if the term ‘iconic’ they have patently abused
Indeed we seem to hear that label used so often in these days
It has long ago begun to sound like an inconsequential phrase

So perhaps we should resolve to give the word ‘iconic’ a well earned rest
As a description of anything that we extol as being the very best
And find some other words to refer to artifacts exceptional
And avoid hinting at ideas that are really undeliverable

Ken Fisher

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