Saturday, January 02, 2010

the only annual list i care about

The 2010 List of Banished Words from Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan):

[Note: I’ve trimmed the comments—you can read them all, and more, and even get your Unicorn Hunter license at the link above]
Shovel-ready
“Apparently, the generally accepted definition of this phrase is to imply that a project has been completely designed and all that is left to do is to implement it ... however, when something dies, it, too, is shovel-ready for burial and so I get confused about the meaning. I would suggest that we just say the project is ready to implement.” – Jerry Redington, Keosauqua, Iowa. “Stick a shovel in it. It’s done.” – Joe Grimm, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Transparent/Transparency
“In the lexicon of the political arena, this word is supposed to mean obvious or easily understood. In reality, political transparency is more invisible than obvious!”—Deb Larson, Bellaire, Mich.

Czar
Long used by the media as a metaphor for positions of high authority, including “baseball czar” Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, appointed by team owners as commissioner-for-life in 1919. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson had an “industry czar” during World War I. Lesser-known “czar” roles in government during the last 100 years include: censorship, housing and oil czars in 1941; rubber czar in 1942; patronage czar (1945); clean-up (1952); missile (1954); inflation (1971); e-commerce (1998); bioethics, faith-based and reading czars (2001); bird flu (2004); democracy (2005); abstinence and birth control czars (2006); and weatherization czar (2008). George W. Bush appointed 47 people to 35 “czar” jobs; Pres. Obama, eight appointments to 38 positions

Tweet
And all of its variations ... tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhea, twitterature, twittersphere ... “I don’t know a single non-celebrity who actually uses it,” says Alex Thompson of Sault St. Marie, Mich. Jay Brazier of Williamston, Mich. says she supposes that tweeters might be “twits.”

App
“Must we b sbjct to yt another abrv? Why does the English language have to fit on a two-inch screen? I hate the sound of it. I think I’ll listen to a symph on the rad.”—Edward R. Bolt, Grand Rapids, Mich. “Is there an ‘app’ for making this annoying word go away? Why can’t we just call them ‘programs’ again?” – Kuahmel Allah, Los Angeles, Calif.

Sexting
Sending sexually explicit pictures and text messages through the cell phone. “Any dangerous new trend that also happens to have a clever mash-up of words, involves teens, and gets television talk show hosts interested must be banished.” – Ishmael Daro, Saskatoon, Sask., Canada.

Friend as a verb
“‘Befriend’ is much more pleasant to the human ear and a perfectly useful word in the dictionary.” – Kevin K., Morris, Okla.

Teachable moment
What might otherwise be known as ‘a lesson.’ “It’s a condescending substitute for ‘opportunity to make a point,’” says Eric Rosenquist of College Station, Tex. “This phrase is used to describe everything from potty-training to politics. It’s time to vote it out!” – Jodi, Youngstown, Ohio.

In these economic times ...
Nominations concerning the economy started rolling in as the 2009 list was being put together last year, i.e. “bailout.” They kept coming this year, in these trouble economic times. ” South Park ” warned us about what would happen if we angered The Economy. “In this economy, we can’t afford to be wasteful…In this economy, we all need some security…In this economy, frogs could start falling from the sky…In this economy, blah blah blah… Overused for everything from trying to market products as inexpensive to simply explaining any and all behavior during the recession.” – Mark, Milwaukee, Wisc. “When someone prefaces a statement with ‘in this economic climate,’ its starts to sound like a sales pitch, or just an excuse on which to blame every problem. And if a letter or e-mail message from your employer starts with this phrase, usually it means you’re not getting a raise this year.” – Dominic, Seattle, Wash.

Stimulus
“What next, can I go down to the local bar and down a few drinks and call it a stimulus package?” – Richard Brown, Portland, Ore.

Toxic Assets
We think we’re going to be sick. “Whatever happened to simply ‘bad stocks,’ ‘debts,’ or ‘loans’?”—Monty Heidenreich, Homewood, Ill.

Too big to fail
“Does such a thing exist? We’ll never know if a company is too big to fail, unless somehow it does fail, and then it will no longer be too big to fail. Make it stop!” – Holli, Raleigh, NC.

Bromance
“I am sick of combined words the media creates to make them sound catchier. Frenemies? Bromances? Blogorrhea? I’m going to scream!” – Kaylynn, Alberta, Canada.

Chillaxin’
Nominated for several years. We couldn’t chill about it anymore. “A made-up word used by annoying Gen-Yers.” – Chris Jensen, Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Obama-prefix or roots?
The LSSU Word Banishment Committee held out hope that folks would want to Obama-ban Obama-structions, but were surprised that no one Obama-nominated any, such as these compiled by the Oxford Dictionary in 2009: Obamanomics, Obamanation, Obamafication, Obamacare, Obamalicious, Obamaland ... We say Obamanough already.

posted by lee on 01/02/10 at 02:10 PM

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