Mich. University Puts Out Banned Words List
DETROIT -- You can finally call it a "recession," thanks to President George W. Bush's recent use of the term to describe the fragile state of the U.S. economy. But word-watchers far and wide forbid you to say the pain has spread from "Wall Street to Main Street."And refrain from calling any government aid a "bailout."
While the economy is weak, the state of the nation's cliche-busting brigade is strong. And the aggrieved have submitted their nominations to Lake Superior State University, which released its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.The school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula released its 34th version Tuesday containing 15 entries selected from about 5,000 nominations.Despite the year's economic meltdown (which itself wasn't banished but don't rule it out for next year), the most entries came from the environmental category -- for "green" or "going green.""If I see one more corporation declare itself 'green,' I'm going to start burning tires in my backyard," wrote Ed Hardiman of Bristow, Va., in his submission.The list wasn't overrun with politics given the national election -- no "change," for instance -- but one simply couldn't escape the critics' wrath."I'm a maverick, he's a maverick, wouldn't you like to be a maverick, too?" offered Michael Burke of Silver Spring, Md., in his entry for the adjective embraced by unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain.Still, words related to the economy led to a few meltdowns."I am so tired of hearing about everything affecting 'Main Street.' I know that with the 'Wall Street' collapse, the comparison is convenient, but really, let's find another way to talk about everyman or the middle class, or even, heaven forbid, 'Joe the Plumber."' wrote Stacey from Knoxville, Tenn. She provided only a first name in her bid to eradicate -- or at least separate -- Wall Street" and "Main Street.""Don't we love how Capitol Hill will bail out Wall Street, but not Main Street?" wrote Derrick Chamberlain of Midland, in his nomination to ban 'bailout' but affirming his disdain for the Wall Street/Main Street analogy.
Oh, and this year's sluggish economy and record rise in gas prices may have kept people closer to home. But the word coined for it, "staycation," is "idiotic and rootless," says Michele Mooney of Los Angeles.Think these gendarmes of jargon should "get a life"? Watch it, kiddo. That phrase was banished in 1997.The school's annual quest to throw lexicon logs on the fire always gets some end-of-the-year attention for the school in Sault Ste. Marie, the last stop before Michigan's northern border crossing with Canada. But the list is more about letting off steam and offering laughs than performing any verbal vanishing act."We get several nominations for the same word or phrase, and we still get nominations for words and phrases that have been on previous years' lists," said university spokesman Tom Pink. "At this point in time' was on the first list in 1976 and it continues to be nominated every year. People still hate it."Lake Superior State University's 2009 list of banished words:
*carbon footprint or carbon offsetting
*Wall Street/Main Street
*3 (Emoticon for 'heart' used in text messages and e-mail.)
*icon or iconic
*not so much
*winner of five nominations
*it's that time of year again