Friday, January 16, 2009

Better Banning For 2009

All hail Lake Superior State University Word-Watchers/Word-Banishers! These folks rule. Now, if we can just get the attention of those who make the LSSUWWWBs necessary. Then we'll really start seeing some progress.

Every year, the folks over there at LSSU (described on their website as being "...located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, along the U.S./Canada international border. With an enrollment of about 3,000 students") come up with a list of words that have been overused to death during the year and which should subsequently be banished from any and all future usage. The problem is that, while the list is interesting, entertaining and based in reality, it doesn't seem to compel people to drop these words and/or phrases from their vocabulary. (Not like we should be surprised by that. After all, most people are what? Morons, that is correct. Morons, by definition, don't usually have a very extensive vocabulary. They also tend to glom on to the hype of the moment like glue.)

Drum roll, please. No drums? I'll just clear my throat then. Ahem....

  • "Green" or "going green" or any variation/derivation thereof: THANK YOU!!! It's not the green movement or anything like that which I am annoyed by. It is the overuse and the frequent misuse (and blatant lying) of the term "green". Why is that? Because there are no standards (with the exception of within the construction industry) for what constitutes a "green" product. I can say that this blog is "green", what are you going to do about it? Nothing, exactly. It could be! You don't know! And neither do I. In fact, I think I am going to start saying that. I have a green blog. I like it. Ew. Wait. That would cause me to admit that I have a blog. Never mind. Read on! (But stop saying "green"!)

  • "Carbon footprint" or "Carbon offset": I'd also like to add "carbon credits" to this one. They're all ridiculous and if I have to hear them one more time, someone is going to be calculating the carbon offset caused by carbon footprint on their ass.

  • "Maverick": This word was doomed to be doomed probably less than 30 seconds after it was first uttered during McCain's campaign because (wait for it) people liked it. If people really seem to like something, prepare yourself to be inundated with that something non-stop for the rest of your life (or until the LSSU folks take the wheel) because the media figure that if a little is good, then a whole boat load is great! (For the record: It's not. That's why we hate this word.)

  • "First Dude": Name that was coined for Todd Palin, the husband (aka, "First Dude") of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; a man that I do not think that I have ever heard utter a word publicly about anything. HOW did this word/term become so overused that it met it's own demise? See "Maverick".

  • "Bailout": This is quite possibly the word that is not only overused the most, but is also used incorrectly the most (which is why it's often used (wrongly) synonymously for "loan".) "Bailout" has come to represent any sort of financial assistance regardless of origin or recipient. By the way, take note: Of the most recent "bailouts", regardless as to whether or not they really were a "bailout", I have yet to see an instance where any of them have worked, aka - successfully "bailed out" the one in peril. Thus, even though the word is still banned, just remember that when you hear it used, it usually can be taken to mean "pissing money away".

  • " 'Wall Street/Main Street' comparison": Again, see "Maverick". Everyone thought that was really clever. The first 500 times they heard it. Then it began to wear thin. (The thing that really irritates me about this phrase is whenever it is used it's in the form of a question that never gets answered! For example: "How does what is happening on Wall Street effect those on Main Street? We go to our reporter whose name I have forgotten, but she's really, really hot. So over to you, sweetie. What's the deal?" And do you think "sweetie" knows anything? Other than what pumps go with what purse? Of course not.)

  • "Icon" or "Iconic": This gets banned because it is so overused that it is diminishing the status of being an actual "icon". NO, not those little things on your computer desktop that you click on. Not those icons. The icons that are important people that are supposed to be at the top of their field and the ones who are immediately identified with that which they helped define or achieve. Steve Jobs is an icon. The guy who sold the most iPods at the Apple store last month is not.

  • The emoticon <3: That little thing is supposed to be a heart if you tip your head to the right. I think it looks like an ice cream cone, but that's only on the days that I don't think it looks like something that has to do with porn. I don't know what, but there is a slight porn-y feel to it. As with all other annoying emoticons, it's supposed to be cute. (What the hell was wrong with "xoxo" in the first place? Isn't that good enough? Why the porn heart?)

    "Game changer": And what is the "game" being "changed" to, exactly? Monopoly becomes Parchesi? Doom becomes Battleship? It's blather. Pure, unadulterated blather.

  • "Desperate search": As opposed to what? A lackadaisical search? A half ass search? A search that can wait until morning? And since it usually pertains to cases where it is a person that is being "searched" for, no kidding it's freaking "desperate". See? Morons.

  • "Not so much": I don't have much of a problem with this one, but I'm including it because it was on their list. It's a matter of how it is used. It must be in a humorous, sitcom-like environment and it must be a response to either an obvious or a rhetorical inquiry (or an obviously rhetorical inquiry). "Wow, so you caught your wife in bed with another woman and now your wife's divorcing you. Huh. I guess you won't be worrying about what to do for your anniversary next week then." "Not so much" That's OK. "So, since it didn't rain, I guess you didn't get wet." "Not so much." That's NOT OK.

  • "It's that time of year again": Is it? How often does that happen? Like, what? Once a year? Oh, all the time year 'round! Right. Because every day is A time of year and since this isn't the first year that we've ever had, it's going to be that way all the time! Got it. Now stop saying it! What if, at noon, people were always saying, "Well, it's that time of day again." You'd shoot them. Or yourself. It's the same thing. Only different. (Also loathed is the cousin to that phrase, "At the end of the day". It's pointless. "At the end of the day....it gets dark, people have dinner and then they go to bed." Ban that too!)

  • "Winner of FIVE Nominations": This is like the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes effect on language and vocabulary demonstrated right here. "You MAY have already won some very exciting prizes!" But you haven't! "You are pre-approved to apply for our platinum plated, gold encrusted, titanium credit card!" Pre-approved? To apply? To fill out the form? What's your selection process for that anyway? You know, to determine who is worthy enough for you to authorize pre-approval of someone's opportunity to fill in the blanks? Oh, anyone? I see. (While we're at it, we might as well just ban "pre-approved" also. I see no reason to wait until the 2009 list comes out. Why torture ourselves for another year when we already know we hate it?)

  • "At this moment in time": I loathe this phrase. "Um, at this moment in time..." Uh, excuse me, Captain Words-a-Lot, but are you trying to say "NOW"? (Please note that the self-important and those who are sports announcers will add "particular" to the wordage. "At this particular moment in time...." (Let me finish that. "....you sound like a jackass when you use that phrase.") "Now." The word is "now". Use it! Now!

  • "Staycation": Not going anywhere for your vacation. ie, Staying in the area you live in and vacationing around there. The "staycation" term is a result of two things. One, the "maverick" factor. Two, the rhyming factor. Everyone loves a damn rhyme. I take that back. Everyone thinks that everyone loves a damn rhyme. Anything other than Dr. Seuss and I don't have a lot of use for them, personally. And with a word like "staycation" where the sounds rhyme with a lot of different words, people start making their own little offshoot of the term. Sort of like how some casinos will use the term "playcation" in their advertising. Ugh. To illustrate how this phenomenon works and becomes absurdly silly, I've come up with a few examples of my own.

  • Gaycation: Vacation for homosexuals.
  • Haycation: Vacation for farmers
  • Oy-veycation: Vacation for the Jewish
  • Braycation: Vacation for donkeys (or for jackasses. Your choice.)
  • Straycation: Vacation for wanderers
  • Slaycation: Vacation for murderers
  • Jaycation: Vacation for birdwatchers
  • Laycation: Vacation for porn stars
  • Delaycation: Vacation for people who are always late

Ridiculous, yes? Yes.

Thank you, LSSU guys! Feel free to put out an addendum at any point during the year!

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