Thursday, January 01, 2009

List, list, O, list!

Lake Superior State puts the bore in borealis.*

A couple weeks ago the university released its anal annual Banished Words list.

I think the usual commenters ignored it because this list is weak. Particularly. It's predictable and familiar. More'n usual even. It's not really worth arguing against, but it's definitely worth mocking. Here is the skeleton:


Environmental terms:

GREEN
in all it's forms. So then are we supposed to start saying adhering to certain standards for processes and materials widely agreed upon as less harmful to the environment? Yes I know that circumlocution is necessary to replace almost any single word. I'm not saying that without a certain word its concept can only be expressed with a ridiculously long phrase. My point: when a word works well and is relevant to a common topic of conversation, and you start getting sick of the topic, don't blame the word.

CARBON FOOTPRINT or CARBON OFFSETTING – "It is now considered fashionable for everyone, tree hugger or lumberjack alike, to pay money to questionable companies to ‘offset’ their own ‘carbon footprint.’ What a scam! Get rid of it immediately!" Ginger Hunt, London, England.

Ms Hunt appears to argue with misguided faith in a hard Sapir-Whorf reading: that we can't think something without a word for it; that getting rid of a word will eradicate the idea it represents. I'm going to stop saying 'Lake Superior State University Banished Words List' starting now. Check in a year from now to see if it worked.


Politics:

MAVERICK
Why waste time complaining about a word that was really just used by one person? OK two people. Next year they're going to banish Ross for Boss.


Texting horrors:

<3
Representing a heart, or the word love. 'Cuz those dam kids r killing english one keystroke @ a time.


In the media:

DESPERATE SEARCH
Really? Banishing a phrase like this reminds me of those phrases on Wheel of Fortune that aren't really established phrases
Phrase: SOME ROOM IN THE FREEZER
Around the House: THE TINY HAT IN THE BASEMENT


…but that they have to come up with something because they're running out of ideas:

NOT SO MUCH
Reaching back to 2002 for words to start hating now.

ICON or ICONIC
You're all morons. Or moronic.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN
And I feel a little dumber for caring.



*To be fair I should point out that this yearly gem is put out by the PR department. The list and my criticism have nothing to do with the education available at the school. And I'm sure the students are cool too.

4 comments:

  1. That really is one lame list. Can I say "lame"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. FAIL. As the kids say. Not to mention that lists like this have approximately 0.00000000% influence on how people, like, write and talk and stuff.

    Can we scratch up enough such lists to constitute a Banish Banished-Word Lists list?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, if it makes you feel better, Wisconsin beat Lake Superior State's men's hockey team last weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Richard Hershberger03 January, 2009 17:56

    Your first two responses sum up a huge percentage of the banished words over the years. If peace broke out throughout the world, LSSU would complain about "peace" and would banish it accordingly.

    And yes, it is the PR department. So what? If the academic side of the school is so weak that it can't stop the PR department from annually bringing shame on the school, what more do you need to know about the school? I would welcome any hint that any professor at the school recognizes how embarrassing this is.

    ReplyDelete

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