Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Truthiness" gets a reprieve, but "surge" gets the boot


By Diane Silver

The delightful folks at Lake Superior State University from my old home state of Michigan have spoken: They have restored the word "truthiness" to the English language, while simultaneously and soundly booting "surge," "perfect storm" and "webinar," among many other, ah, worthy words.

(Thank you so much for axing the hideous "webinar!" And yes, I have attended webinars, at the same time that I cringed at the name.)

The words are noted in Lake Superior State's 33rd Annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The tradition of banishing certain beaten-to-death words was started in 1977 by the late PR Director of the university, Bill Rabe.

I was working at the UPI Detroit Bureau at that time and fondly remember my first chuckling contact with the list and Rabe. As a lowly kid just out of college, I worked New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and wrote UPI's story on the first list. (Thank you, Bill, for giving me an upbeat moment in an otherwise dreary day all those years ago.)

Since then the list has become an tongue-in-cheek institution. This year's list includes "organic," "wordsmith," "Black Friday," "random" and "sweet."

The only selection I disagree with is "waterboarding" unless, of course, we all vow to call that practice by its true name: "torture."

IMAGE: The cartoon was created by Lake Superior State staff cartoonist Ron Raffaele to illustrate this year's list.

2 comments:

Mousie Cat said...

How about "sermonar," Pastor Jerry Johnston's vile term?

Diane Silver said...

Oh yes, I'd vote for that! I wonder if Johnston has realized, though, that "sermonar" is merely a stretched out moan. Is that the sound of pain we hear? Ugh.