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MIKE PORTNOY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE WORD “LITERALLY” MEANS

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MIKE PORTNOY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE WORD “LITERALLY” MEANS

Former Avenged Sevenfold/current Yellow Matter Custard drummer Mike Portnoy recently gave an interview to The Nervous Breakdown, which includes the following quote: “I literally ate, breathed and shat Dream Theater twenty-four/seven for twenty-five years.” And if we take Portnoy at his literal word, than he just revealed the following pieces of information:

  • For two-and-a-half decades, Portnoy consumed either Dream Theater CDs, vinyls, and/or cassettes, or otherwise consumed flesh from various members of Dream Theater.
  • He also somehow figured out a way to get his oxygen supply from the aforementioned Dream Theater albums and/or members’ flesh.
  • There was not a single second of any day during which he was not eating said items.

Now, I saw Portnoy play live several times over the course of those twenty-five years, and never once did he appear to be eating anything at all, let alone a copy of Images and Words or some of John Petrucci’s hair. So when I read this quote, I immediately deduced that Portnoy was either a) lying, or, more likely, b) unaware of the correct meaning of the word “literally,” which seems to be an increasingly common problem in our society.

And in Portnoy’s defense, it’s not his fault that his mastery of the English language isn’t so strong — after all, he’s from Long Island, so in terms of learning proper communication skills, he’s at a natural disadvantage to pre-school students, immigrants, and pets of people not from Long Island. And it’s not like you need to be a real smarty pants to be a great drummer — I mean you’re just hitting shit with a stick, two year olds do it every day.

But still, I feel like everybody, especially public figures who routinely give widely-read interviews, should really stop doing this thing where they use the word “literally” to mean “figuratively,” which is the antonym* for “literally.” Literally.

-AR

*Mike, if you’re reading this, “antonym” is just a fancy way of saying “a word that means the opposite of another word.”

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