I just read the Lake Superior State University 2008 List of Banished Words (http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php). This caused me to generate the following list of words and phrases I’d like to abolish from the English language. Feel free to add your own.
Celebrity news— If it’s about a celebrity, it’s not news. That’s called entertainment or gossip or proof of a good publicist.
Ubiquitous— That’s a lot of syllables to substitute for “present,” and much more difficult to say.
Smarter than a fifth-grader— This phrase infers a lack of intelligence—in fifth-graders. Have you talked to one, lately? You might just as well ask me if I’m smarter than my computer.
Teleconference— This term is confusing. If it’s a conference, people attend in person. If it’s a group telephone communication, that’s a “conference call.” If it’s a closed circuit broadcast or PowerPoint presentation, that’s called “nap time.”
Going green— Every time I hear this phrase I think of Kermit the Frog. I’ve never seen a person turn green, not even an envious one, unless he or she was about to vomit—and that doesn’t create an appealing image. Everything environmentally friendly is not necessarily green. In fact, many natural products are brown. But nobody, other than maybe a UPS spokesperson, ever says “I’m going brown.”
Parental advisory— I think TV programs add this voiceover comment to their introductions just to boost ratings. If we don’t want our kids to see graphic violence and sexual images or hear strong language, we shouldn’t turn on a TV set after 4:00 p.m.
Kick to the curb— I hear this most often when women speak of bad relationships. Frankly, if I were going to kick a guy out of my life, I’d want him to land much farther away than my curb.
Red states/blue states— States are comprised of residents (most of whom don’t vote), who are neither red nor blue. Elephants and donkeys are neither red nor blue. Seems to me that it would have been more appropriate to refer to Republican states as “gray states” and Democratic ones as, oh, say, maybe, “purple states.” But why color-code them at all?
Politically correct (or “PC”)– (as in, the statement above wasn’t PC) How can something be both political AND correct? This term really means: If you’re a politician, you shouldn’t say (fill in this blank with any racial, socially sensitive or stupid remark )—at least not in public. Most of us don’t give a fiddle-fart about becoming politicians, so we should say what we mean and serve the consequences. Being politically correct often hides an individual’s true beliefs and permits bigots to avoid discovery. Just let every jerk have his say. Yeah, it’s usually a guy. Maybe sometimes it’s a woman. But since I’m not Don Imus or Rosie O’Donnell, who really cares?
Spears (as in Britney or Jamie Lynn or however many OTHER sisters there might be out there) It’s a fertile family. They don’t understand birth control. Big deal. Move on.