“The guitarist was absolutely killing it last night!”
What a chauvinistic, machistic way to express our amazement at a beautiful or skilled performance. Sure, we who have previously used that phrase (myself included) have done so unthinkingly, but words reflect a culture, and those there reflect one of male dominance and power. As if a great performance somehow was the last word to be said about something! On the contrary: Art is the infinite game. A superb performance enables new feelings, new thought, new possibilities. It raises expectations in the best way possible, and so sets new standards. It adds life to something that was somehow less alive before it – a whole tradition sometimes, or even just one listener’s experience. But words can also change a culture, so if we have to give words to our awe, let them reflect that joy. I don’t have a really good substitute yet but until then, can’t the next genius just absolutely reanimate it, revive it, birth it?