Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Banished words

The educators and PR folks at Lake Superior State University have released their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

Being from Ohio, I don't pay much attention to the happenings up there in that crazy mitten-shaped state (GO BUCKEYES!), but I like lists, and I like words, so I decided to have a peek at it. Of course, it took me the better part of ten minutes to get their web page to load, which did nothing to reverse my innate bias against all things Michigan. Then after perusing the list, I discovered that it is more a list of phrases (and one emoticon) than a simple list of words. Another point deducted.

Further deductions were given because of the list itself. While many of the entries are indeed annoying, I don't think these really merit banishment:
  • Icon/Iconic--what would we call those little pictures all over our computers?
  • Game Changer--I'd never heard this phrase until I read the list (maybe I don't watch enough CNN)
  • Staycation--it's not even a real word, so how can you ban it?
  • Desperate Search--I blame Nancy Grace for this one
  • Not So Much--I like this phrase. Period.
  • Winner of Five Nominations--how is this more annoying than winner of less than or more than five?
  • It's That Time of Year Again--there are plenty of things that only happen once a year!
It also struck me that several of the entries are only part of the lexicon thanks to one of the many gaffes committed by our current Commander in Chief:
  • Green--we had to have something to focus on other than the war in Iraq . . .
  • Carbon Footprint/Carbon Offsetting--see above
  • Maverick--without this phrase, how would we have been able to distinguish that McCain/Palin were any different from Bush/Cheney? (that's a joke, please no angry tirades)
  • Bailout--'nuff said
  • Wall Street/Main Street--see above
Some entries were just not worth getting worked up about:
  • First Dude--Was there ever any chance that anybody other than Sarah Palin would ever call her husband that (and somebody should explain to the Palins that the spouse of the VP is not the "first" anything)?
  • <3--Until technology advances to the point where emotion can be conveyed via email, I say leave the poor emoticons alone. ;)
This leaves one final entry on the LSSU list: Monkey. I refuse to live in a world without the word "monkey." I love monkeys. Without the word "monkey," my Christmas list would have taken much longer to write, as I would have had to enumerate the various types of monkey that I wanted: pygmy marmoset, capuchin, chimp, macaque . . . in fact, I wouldn't even be able to make my list, because many of my favorite monkeys have the word "monkey" in their name: squirrel monkey, howler monkey, spider monkey, helper monkey, flying monkey . . .

So now you know my opinion of LSSU's little list--what are your thoughts?


Lori said...

Yes, if they ban the word "monkey", I'm moving to Canada. Eddie Izzard would have little to talk about! LOL

The "winner of five nominations" has driven me nuts for a while. Nominations aren't something that is a "win" in anyone's book.

I agree on Green. If I hear one more company touting its "green" initiatives, I'm going to throw up. And guess what color it might be?

writtenexpressions said...

Lime? Olive? Moss? Sage?

Anne said...

Maverick -- absolutely should be banned. The recent election completely ruined it, and now I hear it in my head with Sarah Palin's voice.

Otherwise, what's the point? Phrases and words like those never stick around long enough to be a permanent menace. There'll be something new to gripe about soon enough.

I can add a couple that Rick would like to see banned though... "I'm just saying" and "It is what it is."

Small Footprints said...

I agree that environmental buzz words are being misused and abused ... and that many companies claiming to be "green" aren't but ... these phrases also raise a certain amount of awareness in the general public. Living "green" and reducing one's "carbon footprint" are worthwhile activities. Then again ... I write about living "green" so ... I'm a little "jaded". :)

Happy New Year!

Small Footprints

Embee said...

All the annoying election catch phrases repeated ad nauseum should be banned. I'm sooooo glad the election season is over.

I found the most annoying to be the wall street/main street mess. Both sides rode that pony into the ground.

As for monkey, well, my son's x-box name is "rabid monkey." He finds it amusing when playing Halo and his character kills another character, the caption "you've been killed by a rabid monkey" comes up. That would be significantly less amusing if the word monkey was banned!