Monday, January 05, 2004

Shane's Banished Word List for 2004

In the spirit of the Lake Superior State University 2004 List of Banished Words which Jessica pointed out to me and which includes such gems as 'metrosexual', 'punked', and 'bling-bling', I thought I would rack my philologist brain and try to think of some words or phrases which are Mis-Used, Over-Used and/or Generally Useless.


pimped out - related to bling-bling; all dressed up and ready to go, like someone who procures customers for whores. I think the final straw is when I heard Jessica's 11-year-old nephew use this, without knowing its origin.

that's gay - Not gay as in homosexual, but gay in that grade-school "That is so gay!" way, i.e. lame, wrongheaded, queer in the original sense. That woman's hairdo? Gay. That book jacket? Gay. The fact that Dick and Lynne Cheney won't talk about their lesbian daughter? Gay gay gay.

so ... - as in "that's so yesterday" or "I so don't want to hear that song". I've found myself using this a few times, thinking it quite a clever device. It's another novel way of turning nouns or verbs and other parts of speech into adjectives. But it grows tiresome. In some cases, one can simply say 'really' or its synonyms. In other cases, the phrase must be completely rethought.

make no mistake - Right after 9/11, I heard almost every single Bush official, especially Bush himself, use this phrase, as if it were some passphrase for CIA field operatives to set in motion some previously dormant yet meticulously designed Red Alert plan. Can't we simply say, 'I mean this seriously' or 'Heed my words' or the King James 'Verily, verily, I say unto you' or something more creative? Unless of course it is a passphrase...

road map - as in a road map to peace in the Middle East, or a road map to progress in Mars exploration (in NASA-speak). This phrase will probably have to remain, but it's really just a tentative speculative plan, which is based on many unknowns in the future. It pretends to portray as concrete that which is entirely unknown. I can almost imagine that business-trained Osama Bin Laden is sitting somewhere revising his Road Map to the Utter Destruction of America for distribution to middle management.

like - this useless conversation filler should go the way of 'ugh' and 'umm'. I like, kinda, uh, don't wanna use it anymore. It is perpetually banished.

If you can think of more, please add them...

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