Editorial: Dump the Bump!

Lake Superior State University has issued its annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness”. And not a moment too soon! Over the past 37 years, LSSU has banished almost 900 words and phrases. The 2012 list consists of:

• Amazing • Baby bump • Shared sacrifice • Occupy • Blowback • Man cave • The new normal • Pet parents • Win the future • Trickeration • Ginormous • Thank you in advance

Nearly 1,500 people voted to banish “amazing” for egregious overuse. This is a mass gag response to the oversaturation of the airwaves, particularly on talk shows and reality shows, of celebrities who are unfamiliar with other superlative adjectives. “Man cave” is another TV transgression, but one that will run its course in due time.

Banished words from the world of politics are irritating just because they give politicians fodder for their incessant droning. “Shared sacrifice” and “occupy” will subside as soon as the next buzz word comes along. Besides, everything that can be occupied has been, so that one was probably on the way out already.

I watch sports, and confess that I’m not really bothered by “trickeration.” Sportscasters make up ridiculous words all the time, so I tend to give them a pass on such things. Likewise, teenagers who say “ginormous”. I don’t know any adults who say this, and if they do, they should probably be commended for spending so much time with their kids.

“Pet parents” is too cloying to be taken seriously even by the ultra-politically correct. On the other hand, “baby bump” is one of the most vulgar phrases I’ve ever heard. When I was pregnant if anyone had referred to my child as a bump I’d have smacked them upside the head.

As for business terms...don’t get me started. “Win the future” and “blowback” are just stupid obfuscations for people who want to sound more important than they are. I confess to having used “thank you in advance” myself, but now that I realize how passive aggressive it is, I promise to put it through the shredder. And what can I say about “the new normal”? Every time I hear that phrase I want to run screaming from the room.

If the people who are trying to rid us of the word amazing want to win the future they will need to channel their blowback with a ginormous trickeration. They can shoulder the shared sacrifice it will require while they occupy their man caves until the new normal fizzles. My one comfort is that pet parents don’t have to deal with baby bumps. Thank you in advance for the nice things I know you’ll say about this column.

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