John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University comments on the growing sophistication (or devolution) of English language among Americans in the article of the New York Times (April 5, 2014) under the title of “Like, Degrading the language? No way.”
He picks up prolific uses of the words, “like,” “totally,” “because X” in daily discourse and “lol” in texting as the noteworthy trends of the shift of language. He says:
“Linguistically, underneath the distraction of incivility, America is taking a page from Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to win friends and influence people.” There’s, overall, an awareness of the states of minds of others in much of what is typically regarded as Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth.”
As I understand Clearasil is a pimple treatment medicine primarily directed to high-teen users, does “Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth” mean immature usage of language? What does it mean?
We say “It smells like Mentholatum” in Japanese in referring to the person / thing emitting an alien (not necessarily unpleasant) smell.
Is “Clearasil-scented” a popular phrase, or the author’s particular trope? Can we apply “Clearasil-scented” to other words, like “look, fashion, view, remarks, and infatuation”?