Saturday, January 5, 2008

School I Will Never Attend

Not that there was much chance anyway, but to squash any consideration it might have gotten, I today discovered that Lake Superior State University publishes an annual list of words that ought to be banished. Not such a bad thing in and of itself, but their tone and the words they want to obliterate reveal them (whoever "them" is in this case) to be snooty, linguistically close minded sticks in the mud. For example:

IT IS WHAT IT IS -- "This pointless phrase, uttered initially by athletes on the losing side of a contest, is making its way into general use. It accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant." -- Jeffrey Skrenes, St. Paul, Minnesota.

BACK IN THE DAY -- "Back in the day, we used 'back-in-the-day' to mean something really historical. Now you hear ridiculous statements such as 'Back in the day, people used Blackberries without Blue Tooth.'" -- Liz Jameson, Tallahassee, Florida.

"This one might've already made the list back in the day, which was a Wednesday, I think." -- Tim Bradley, Los Angeles, California.

GIVE BACK -- "This oleaginous phrase is an emergency submission to the 2008 list. The notion has arisen that as one's life progresses, one accumulates a sort of deficit balance with society which must be neutralized by charitable works or financial outlays. Are one's daily transactions throughout life a form of theft?" -- Richard Ong, Carthage, Missouri.

"Various media have been featuring a large number of people who 'just want to give back.' Give back to whom? For what?" -- Curtis Cooper, Hazel Park, Michigan.

Perhaps my teeny brain missed what is so distasteful about any of these. Actually, that last one is a bit disturbing. Sure, you got where you are through your own tenacity, talent, and utter refusal to take anything from anyone. Obviously, you've never been given anything, it's just silly to want to give anything yourself.

Silly people.

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