too much typing—since 2003


Offshoring the Ass-Hat-in-Chief to an Extraordinary Rendition

At the beginning of each year, the American Dialect Society votes on distinctive words that characterize the preceding year. The results for 2003 are in and are currently posted as the main item on the Society's webpage. Incidentally, don't you hate it when items are placed in obviously temporary URLs? It seems likely, wandering around the site, that it'll eventually show up at /woty.html. Previous years produced some insight into what might herald a divide amongst the society's members: in 2001, "most inspirational" was added as a new category solely to accommodate "let's roll"; the fact that someone the next year nominated "grid butt" (you can look it up at that sub-URL) as a candidate for that category suggests that there was less than universal praise for the existence or necessity of the category - which indeed has disappeared.

The words and phrases picked to signify 2003 seem apt - for better or worse - although I'd never heard the word "flexitarian" (voted Most Useful) until now. (I wonder if the same person who nominated "grid butt" as Most Inspirational last year nominated "ass-hat" as Most Useful this year?)

Naturally, I quibble: a brand name that's existed for years (Tofurkey) simply doesn't belong here, either as new or creative. I'd nominate the quasi-vegetarian version of the infamous turducken, in which tofu replaces the outer layer of turkey, as the winner here: ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Tofucken.

It's a sad comment that every one of the Most Euphemistic winners is about death and destruction. Oh for the old days, when we'd euphemize about sex.

I have to wonder what "tomacco" is doing here at all: first, because it was introduced in a Simpsons episode probably five years ago, and second, because that very fact means it will "succeed" to the extent that Simpsons fans will know what it means as long as the episodes keep being watched. The word's reputation will only embiggen as the years pass.

Past years' entries show the Society's done a reasonably good job guessing which words will survive - although in other categories, eyebrow-raisers are frequent. For example, "m'kay" is not a "euphemism for the F-word" in the South Park movie (why would there be a euphemism for "the F-word" in the movie when the word itself is used, oh, a trazillion times?).

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