Maybe ‘banish’ itself is overused
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
As 2012 was about to be ushered out the door, Lake Superior State University on Monday issued its 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness in 2013.
When it comes to end-of-the-year lists, this is one of my favorites. Mainly because it reminds me there is a college called Lake Superior State University (LSSU). I went to the university’s web page to learn more and found out Lake Superior State University is in Michigan and has an extremely annoying website with a gigantic autoplay slideshow at the top.
So enough about them, other than to ask: “Queen’s English?” I know what you mean, but we’ve been independent from the crown for more than a couple of centuries now and have our own, improved version of English, where we do not feel the need to insert an extraneous “u” into words, like “flavour” or “humour.” So how about this, LSSU, let’s banish “Queen’s English.” Think about it. Are you Lake Superiour State University?
Topping this year’s list of words proposed for banishment are “fiscal cliff” and “kick the can down the road.”
Which is ironic, considering Congress has been doing nothing in recent months but kicking the fiscal cliff crisis down the road, like the proverbial can. Which reminds me. How about banishing “ironic?” People use and misuse that word so frequently these days it has practically lost its meaning, which is kind of ironic itself.
Also on the list for 2013 are “double down,” “job creators/creation,” “passion/passionate,” “YOLO,” “spoiler alert,” “bucket list,” “trending,” “superfood,” “boneless wings” and “guru.”
All I can say to most of that list is meh, another sort of overused word, meaning “whatever,” or “yawn.” The only proposed word on the latest list I can truly embrace in disgrace is YOLO, not that it’s actually a word. It’s an acronym for “you only live once,” but those fine and inspiring words have been usurped by our younger generation to excuse all forms of bad behavior. You wrecked your parents’ car? YOLO. You set the fire that burned down the entire town? YOLO. OHNO, you’re not getting off that easily.
Last year’s list was much better, including such irritants as “amazing,” “baby bump” and “man cave,” all of which deserve to be loaded on a leaky barge and shipped to Britain for Her Majesty’s Buckingham Palace dungeons.
They need to be gone, literally. Literally being another word due for a jettisoning. It drives me crazy, hearing that word used randomly over and over. Figuratively, it drives me crazy.
And what’s with boneless wings? Is that an issue in Michigan? I’m not sure it’s reached us here in the West yet, where our birds would have great difficulty flying without bones in their wings. If they’re talking about the chicken wings you eat that miraculously don’t have wings they would have been better off dumping “buffalo wings.” When did that ever make sense?
Overall, LSSU has failed miserably at getting words banished. Two years ago, using Facebook and Google as verbs was on the list. How do I know that? I googled their previous lists.
Three years ago, app made the list. If anything, app is now being used more than ever as thousands of companies develop smart phone apps that will never see a download.
But if you go back to 2001 you will find a success story. That year, “bipartisanship” made the list. If there’s one thing we have learned from the fiscal cliff and repeated can kicking it is that bipartisanship is gone.
In fact, maybe LSSU and its annual list is to blame for setting us up for kicking the can down the road and the fiscal cliff when way back in 1976, on its very first list, it proposed doing away with “dialogue.”
So think about that, LSSU. You think you’re doing a service by proposing annoying words to eliminate but often all you’re doing is creating more, or doubling down, you might say.
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