The result of this approach, the Upworthy house style, is a coy sort of emulation of English, stripped of actual semantic content: This Man Removed the Specific and the Negative, and What Happened Next Will Astonish You. Even Upworthy’s fellow participants in the ongoing SEO race to the bottom are horrified. But it works, in the sense that people who do not want to think about actual things or read any information will reliably share Upworthy stories.
Smarm, on the other hand, is never a force for good. A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all. It is a civilization that says “Don’t Be Evil,” rather than making sure it does not do evil.
Tom Scocca, “On Smarm”
You said we need to see whether they’re serious about putting the matches and the gasoline aside. You’ve also said they want to keep a nuclear weapon in their back pocket. So is keeping the nuclear weapon in the back pocket the same as putting the matches and gasoline aside or, even better, can we stop talking matches and gasoline and nuclear weapons and start talking about what’s actually happening?