I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Optics

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Add it to paradigm, organic, dynamic, metric, off-line, and all the other perfectly fine words that have been recycled in ways that their original definitions never intended. Now there's "optics," which was uttered by political consultant Steve Schmidt earlier in the week and has been slapped on most every conversation at the GOP convention. Here's an MSNBC anchor having at it. From Rob Walker:

Clearly this use of "optics" is distinct from the word's definition. So what does it (now) mean? David Gregory appears to have come closest to defining the term when he referred to "the optics of this, the politics, the perception." It seems clear that the notion of optics is tied to that of pseudo-events, the term introduced by Daniel Boorstin half a century ago to describe, well, things like today's political conventions: completely staged, meticulously crafted happenings, designed to attract media coverage. But considering the optics does not seem to entail digging behind the facade -- pointing out real facts and reference points obscured by surface aesthetics, as, for instance, Mark Lamster does in this recent Design Observer post on the convention's set.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Life stories:
Sarah Silverman's touching obituary for her beloved Duck
Why are young men so vulnerable? Why does it keep happening?
Here in New Mexico
Some ideas to help Grand Park become the urban oasis we need
Signs of Saturday: Antiques sale

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook