Trickeration. Blowback. Ginormous. Lest you think I'm coming up with Huffington Post headline ideas, these are just three of the dozen words added to this year's list of banished vocabulary. Diction has been a hot topic here of late: last week, James R. offered his thoughts on banishing, or at least curbing, our use of the word "literally." While I agree with the idea of periodically cleaning out our lexical refrigerators, perhaps it might help to get ahead of the problem. Rather than wait for words to become memes, trends, cause celebres etc., what if we compiled a list of trend-some vocab we'd rather not see proliferated in the new year?
Here is my attempt at a list of words that will probably achieve meme status in 2012. Unless we stop them.
1. Curate: This is a word that people like to use nowadays instead of "choose." Those photos in your living room: you chose them. You purchased them, framed them, and put them on your wall. You did not curate them. Your house, website, or refrigerator is not the Guggenheim.
2. RT: We've seen the steady encroach of social media language into everyday spoken and written language. I foresee that advance peaking this year with the use of twitter acronyms in regular conversation. Instead of "I have to tell you what my boss said to me today," we'll be hearing, "I have to RT you what my boss orally DM'ed me to-D." ("Day" will probably be shortened to "D" as well.)
3. Oops: I have a feeling this one will be rediscovered in the same way internet culture has given second lives to words like "win" and "like." The term, meant to express guilt or shame at a perceived gaffe, will steadily leak much of its original shame and guilt over 2012. The oops renaissance can be carbon-dated back to Rick Perry's dispassionate, bold, un-oops-y use of the word in the Republican debates. Rearend a car at a red light: oops. Invade the wrong country: oops. Get caught in flagrante delicto cheating on your loved one: oops. This year, the only thing we have to be ashamed of is...shame itself.
4. Brag: My guess is that we've hit a saturation point for the term "swag." The once-titillating way kids would interject the word (swag) on random downbeats of conversation (swag) now just seems (swag) dull. I foresee a new, even more boastful and blatant non-sequitor taking its place: brag. This will catch on in early summer, peak around late autumn, and then NBC anchorman Brian Williams will use it during a radio interview, and your mother will ask you about what this "brag" business is all about, and then it will be time for "brag" to occupy the same cultural backalley dumpster as "swag" (and "occupy").
5. Bragbrag: Continuing on the hunch that this year will be an even more shameless, boastful year than the last, I predict this year will be the one during which our language continues on its dive toward the blatant, the obvious, the basic. Words we learned in pre-K will get reintroduced with the varnish of internet trendiness, as we've seen with the proliferation of the already played-out "humblebrag." "Bragbrag" is the logical next iteration of the humblebrag meme. Sheepish boasting will give way to straight-up boasting, wolfish braggarts who brag about the fact that they're bragging. Humility was so 2011.
6. Long reads: This is a word that people use, mostly on Twitter, to refer to a regular article, and it needs to be stopped. Moby Dick is a long read. War and Peace is a long read. A 3,000-word profile of a mining town is an article. But I guess if you live on Twitter, anything longer than a sentence, including this post (brag), qualifies as a "long read."
7. [comment fishing]: This is less a word than a cloying, overused practice, but perhaps it's time to exterminate those last sentences bloggers tack onto their posts encouraging people to comment on what they've written. So lame, so needy. I know! Right? LOL! Totally...totes...
But seriously can you guys think of some other words we should pre-banish???