Word “czars” at Lake Superior State University “unfriended” 15 words and phrases and declared them “shovel-ready” for inclusion on the university’s 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
“The list this year is a ‘teachable moment’ conducted free of ‘tweets,’” said a Word Banishment spokesman who was “chillaxin’” for the holidays. “‘In these economic times’, purging our language of ‘toxic assets’ is a ’stimulus’ effort that’s ‘too big to fail.’”
Former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and friends created “word banishment” in 1975 at a New Year’s Eve party and released the first list on New Year’s Day. Since then, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which includes words and phrases from marketing, media, education, technology and more.
Word-watchers may check the alphabetical “complete list” on the website before making their submissions.
For the 2010 list, read on:
“Apparently, the generally accepted definition of this phrase is to imply that a project has been completely designed and all that is left to do is to implement it…however, when something dies, it, too, is shovel-ready for burial and so I get confused about the meaning. I would suggest that we just say the project is ready to implement.” – Jerry Redington, Keosauqua, Iowa.
“A relatively new term already overused by media and politicians. Bury this term, please.” – Pat Batcheller, Southgate, Mich.
“Do I really need a reason? Well, if so how about this: I just saw it in tandem with ‘cyber-ready’ and nearly choked on my coffee. It’s starting the ‘-ready’ jargon. Makes me ‘vacation-ready.’” – Karen Hill, Ann Arbor, Mich.
“Stick a shovel in it. It’s done.” – Joe Grimm, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
“I can see clearly that this is the new buzzword for the year.” — Joann Eschenburg, Clinton Twp., Mich.
“In the lexicon of the political arena, this word is supposed to mean obvious or easily understood. In reality, political transparency is more invisible than obvious!” — Deb Larson, Bellaire, Mich.
“I just don’t see it.” – Joe Grimm, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Long used by the media as a metaphor for positions of high authority, including “baseball czar” Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, appointed by team owners as commissioner-for-life in 1919. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson had an “industry czar” during World War I. Lesser-known “czar” roles in government during the last 100 years include: censorship, housing and oil czars in 1941; rubber czar in 1942; patronage czar (1945); clean-up (1952); missile (1954); inflation (1971); e-commerce (1998); bioethics, faith-based and reading czars (2001); bird flu (2004); democracy (2005); abstinence and birth control czars (2006); and weatherization czar (2008).
George W. Bush appointed 47 people to 35 “czar” jobs; Pres. Obama, eight appointments to 38 positions.
“First it was a ‘drug czar’ [banished in 1990]. This year gave us a ‘car czar.’ What’s next? A ‘banished words czar’?” — Michael F. Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.
“We have appointed a czar of such-and-such; clearly that’s better than a ‘leader,’ ‘coordinator’ or ‘director’! — Derek Lawrence, Thunder Bay, Ont.
“The president has been handing these “czar” positions out like party favors.” – Scott Lassiter, Houston, Tex.
And all of its variations…tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhea, twitterature, twittersphere…
“People tweet and retweet and I just heard the word ‘tweet’ so many times it lost all meaning.” – Ricardo, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
Mikhail Swift of Hillman, Mich. says the tweeting is “pointless…yet has somehow managed to take the nation by storm. I’m tired of hearing about celebrity X’s new tweet, and how great of a tweeter he or she is.”
“I don’t know a single non-celebrity who actually uses it,” says Alex Thompson of Sault St. Marie, Mich.
Jay Brazier of Williamston, Mich. says she supposes that tweeters might be “twits.”
“Must we b sbjct to yt another abrv? Why does the English language have to fit on a two-inch screen? I hate the sound of it. I think I’ll listen to a symph on the rad.” — Edward R. Bolt, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Is there an ‘app’ for making this annoying word go away? Why can’t we just call them ‘programs’ again?” – Kuahmel Allah, Los Angeles, Calif.
Sending sexually explicit pictures and text messages through the cell phone.
“Any dangerous new trend that also happens to have a clever mash-up of words, involves teens, and gets television talk show hosts interested must be banished.” – Ishmael Daro, Saskatoon, Sask., Canada.
There are more.