Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

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next week's column: Some Words Need to be Voted Out of the Language

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


Dude. Some people are still trying to put a stop to overused words and phrases, LOL. I know, right?

Every generation has a list of misused words … what am I saying? Every year a new batch comes along. The worst part is that, all too often, the old overused words stick around with the new ones, until tiresome clichés become as much a part of headache-inducing misuse as creating an “original” name by misspelling an old one.

For instance, I’ve been saying “dude” and “cool” since the 70’s. I can’t stop, and yet I’ve also fallen into the habit of agreeing with something by saying (insert fake teenage-speak here), “I know, right?” That term was funny. The first hundred times.

Often the newest knives shoved into the ribs of the Queen’s English come from – no big surprise – geeks and politicians. “Tweet” used to be the sound a cute bird made. Now everybody tweets with short messages to their Twitter account, although I still firmly maintain it should be called “twitting”, and the people doing it should be “twits”. Perhaps I’d feel differently if I was tweeting myself, but how much can you really say with 140 characters?

Well, Abraham Lincoln could probably do it; maybe Calvin Coolidge. But even the Gettysburg Address would take dozens of tweets to get out. “4 score 7 yrs we made a cntry for liberty and equal creation, IKR?” It just doesn’t sing, so why call it a tweet?

At least some people try to say something meaningful. Others believe their followers vitally need to know every store purchase, meal and bowel movement, most likely in that order. “At Mickey D’s, lrg fries and coke.” How nice, I’ll alert the heart surgeon.

Also on the list: “app”, as in a computer application. The iPhone apparently overdid their “there’s an ap for that” ad, but considering there are over a million iPhone aps and only 800,000 are for buying stuff, can you blame them? The iPhone can now turn off your home’s lights from hundreds of miles away, give you directions, feed the cat, force John Mayer to sing on-key, and appoint every owner their own personal government czar.

Speaking of which, the name “czar” has hit the list. Czars are heads of government programs, appointed by US Presidents to do things already existing government departments should be accomplishing. Depending on how you count it, FDR had 12 of them; Ronald Reagan 1; and Barack Obama 38. Russia never had that many czars.

Obama’s been attacked so often for hiring special department heads without oversight or accountability that everyone seems to have overlooked one thing: The positions aren’t actually called czars. Usually they have terms like “director”, “Administrator”, or “special something or other”.

So we’re to stop using the term unless speaking of Russian history, even though – let’s be honest – it’s a lot more fun than “counselor”:

“The President has over three dozen counselors!”

“Um … so?”

“Shovel ready” is on the list. “Stick a shovel in it,” said one nominator. Jeez. Wait,
I suppose “jeez” is on the list.

The largely unused stimulus money was to go to shovel ready projects, meaning any kind of project that was ready to go so that people could be hired and the unemployment rate lowered. Of course, the term would also work toward dead, stinky things that should be buried, which leads us right back to a lot of government programs.

Also on the list:

“Transparency.” When applied to the federal government, the word means … pretty much nothing.

“Sexting.” This is the concept of sex by cell phone … which should be the safest form of sex there is, unless you’re doing it while driving. Well, no sex is safe while driving, so never mind.

“Teachable moment.” For instance, scraping a driver off the pavement who was sexting while driving would be a teachable moment.

“Bailout.” That’s a term that’s led to nothing but trouble since the days of “Gilligan’s Island”.

“It is what it is.” That term is so unhelpful that it had to have been invented in Washington.

“Unfriend” When you no longer like your internet pal you unfriend them, a term so ... well, unfriendly that it sounds like you hired your cousin Guido from Chicago to make a hit.

I would add a few terms of my own that drive me crazy:

“You know.” I know! And if I don’t know, that’s not helping.

“Green.” I love that word. It’s a color I dream of all winter, and look forward to in the spring. Now it’s been taken over by the environmental movement. Some of them are good, caring people – and some of them are nutjobs. Nutjobs are now allowed my favorite color.

“Frenemy.” They’re your friend – and your enemy! No they’re not. Get therapy and move on.

“Carbon footprint.” Whenever I’m home I inhale in the rest of the house, but hold my breath until I get to my aloe plant, which I breathe out onto. It turns my carbon dioxide into oxygen, and is now nearly eight feet tall. My carbon footprint is so small that Al Gore had to hire a hound dog to find it.

“Staycation.” That’s when you have so little money that on your time off you stay home. Have you been to my home? It’s no vacation.

“Get a life.” Check my pulse. Heart beating? Okay, then I’ve got a life.

“Love/Hate.” I once had a love/hate relationship: I loved her, she hated me.

“Literally.” I hate this one. “When I heard the news, my head literally exploded.”

It did? Then how can you talk, with your brains splattered all over the ceiling? No, your head figuratively exploded, but mine might explode if you keep misusing that word.

Seriously. LOL, whatever, like, you know?
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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