SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Gosh, you guys really hate selfie. And we see the hate runs so deep you don’t mean just the images, you mean the word itself.
Each year, the overseers of the overwrought phrase usage at Lake Superior State University in Michigan ask the public to send in nominations of words or terms that drive them crazy.
Their Department of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness gets thousands of submissions and then it narrows the list to 13. Because that’s what we need at the end of the year, a top 10+ list of something!
A quick and totally unscientific search of CNN.com in 2013 reveals three dozen references to selfie, which includes stories about President Obama’s selfie controversy, selfies taken at funerals, selfie tips and the fact that some organization called the Oxford Dictionaries had the nerve to name selfie the global word of the year.
And selfie only just became an honest-to-goodness real word.
We may not be able to keep people from posting them online, but we can try to get them to use another word.
“A self-snapped picture need not have a name all its own beyond ‘photograph.’ It may only be a matter of time before photos of one’s self and a friend will become ‘dualies,’” wrote nominators Lawrence of Coventry, Connecticut, and Ryan of North Andover, Massachusetts.
Another critic said the term is full of self-importance.
“Myselfie disparages the word because it’s too selfie-serving,” wrote Lisa of New York City. “But enough about me, how about yourselfie?”
But the battle between the Lake Superior State folks and the Oxford crew doesn’t end there. The award-winning “twerk” also gets the thumbs down from the 39th edition of the banishment list. What is twerking? I’m not sure I can accurately capture it in words, so watch this, but quickly.
Lisa from New York City comes back strong again.
“I twitch when I hear twerk, for to twerk proves one is a jerk — or is at least twitching like a jerk. Twerking has brought us to a new low in our lexicon,” she wrote.
Some of the phrases were a bit surprising to some of us, but if you insist, I guess it’s time to retire Mister Mom and T-bone, the verb, as in one car T-boned the other.
“While the accident’s layout does, indeed, resemble its namesake cut of beef, we’d prefer to dispense with the collateral imagery and enjoy a great steak,” the barons of overused phrases wrote.
As for Mr. Mom, well, that movie came out 30 years ago (kids, it’s hilarious), and the idea of a man staying home while a wife works is not so novel any more.
“I am a stay-at-home dad/parent. And if you call me ‘Mr. Mom,’ I will punch you in the throat,” said Zachary of East Providence, Rhode Island. We agree, the guy in the movie was a bit clueless about how to care for the little ones and the house.
We went over to the Twittersphere to see the reaction to the call for the end of “Twittersphere.” Apparently many people missed the memo on that (I can use that — missed the memo hasn’t made the complete list yet). Another Internet word to make the 2013 list was the written out or spoken hashtag. The symbol # is fine, apparently. Or maybe not.
“Typed on sites that use them, that’s one thing. When verbally spoken, hashtag-itgetsoldquickly. So, hashtag-knockitoff,” typed Kuahmel of Gardena, California.
But Jen from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, thinks: “It’s #obnoxious #ridiculous #annoying and I wish it would disappear.”
We concur, Jen. #soundslikeagoodidea #notgoingtohappenanytimesoon
Sports fans contributed two words — “adversity” and “fan base.“Facebook user Tim Wilcox had an even better idea, getting rid of “Nation” after every team’s nickname to describe their fans
And adversity? In a sporting event? It means “a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune,” according to Merriam-Webster.
“Facing adversity is working 50 hours a week and still struggling to feed your kids. Facing third and fifteen without your best receiver with tens of millions in the bank, is not,” Kyle of White Lake, Michigan, wrote.
Another phrase that likely got its start in sports but leaked into other usage and needs to go is “_______ on steroids“. For instance, it’s like a fast food restaurant on steroids. Wow, it must be, um, great.
There were a few huge crises on the planet in 2013 but it’s still here. So the use of “-ageddon” and “-pocalypse” got old quickly. We say there will be no Snowmageddon 2014. And we pray there is no a global shortage of pork products as the world must avoid using Baconpocalypse, or worse, Aporkcalypse.
The list also included two terms associated with politics, or at least with Washington.
Intellectually/Morally Bankrupt was one.
Cal of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, wondered: “Are there intellectual creditors?”
And the other was Obamacare, which appears in the media approximately every 3.2 seconds. However, that is easier to fit in a headline or ticker than “Affordable Care Act.” Just sayin’ (Also not banned — yet).
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