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Fiscal Cliff Notes
December 31, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

One of those inevitable year-end traditions is Lake Superior State University's List of Banished Words, led this year by the currently ubiquitous "Fiscal Cliff", followed by the related political/economic shorthand "Kick the Can Down the Road". Of course, "YOLO" is on the list (as I predicted), along with "Double Down" (surprisingly NOT in reference to the KFC menu item), "Job Creators", "Spoiler Alert", "Bucket List", "Guru" (didn't Mike Myers kill that word in 2008?), the marketing-speak "Superfood", the twitter-driven verbed noun "Trending", the oxymoronic "Boneless Wings" and this year's pick for 'word that has lost all meaning': "Passionate". Of course, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV, an acronym not yet banned, but give it time...)
posted by oneswellfoop (70 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been ranting about the ridiculous misuse of the word 'passion' since about 2000. Because no, I don't have 'a passion for SEO and New Media'. And if you do, you're a very strange person indeed.
posted by pipeski at 1:23 PM on December 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


BTW, I noticed Time Magazine attempted to influence this year's with an online poll. If you don't want to vote to see the results, I'll give you a Spoiler (sorry): "YOLO" was way ahead with 22% of the votes, followed by "Gangnam Style" with almost 12.5%. "Literally" (like Gangnam, not on the LSSU list) was third at 9%, edging out "Fiscal Cliff". Such are online polls.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:25 PM on December 31, 2012


I'm happy "passion" is on there. I cringe whenever it shows up on want ads. Last week someone forwarded me one that wanted someone with a "Passion" for automated QA testing. When applying for my current job, the recruiter was disappointed I hadn't conveyed that I had a "passion" for the "mobile space" during the interview (I got the job anyway). It would be great if everyone involved in HR would stop lying to each other and stop using this word.

They really want someone who will stay on long-term and accept lower pay, because the job is their "passion" and they'd do it for free if they could. The job seeker is going to, of course, lie through their teeth the entire time.
posted by hellojed at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I’ve never even heard "YOLO". Weird.

"Job Creators" is the stupidest, most obviously bullshit phrase I’ve heard in years and I laugh every time I hear it because they just keep saying it even though no one is buying it. The Job Creators really suck at their jobs, they should be fired. Or have their taxes raised a whole lot. The first step should be in a couple of hours...
posted by bongo_x at 1:36 PM on December 31, 2012


#yoloswag

I vote for "exclusive". I saw a mailer for a casino comp program that said "your membership has become even more exclusive". At first I thought they were kicking people out to ya know, make it exclusive, but no, they just had The Spinners doing shows at the VIP room. Truly the word has lost its original meaning.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:41 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


YOLO, sure, but most people who YOLO at all seem to YOLO many times. How is that kosher?
posted by cmoj at 1:44 PM on December 31, 2012


I'd heard YOLO a few times, but I never knew what it meant until now, when I'm not supposed to use it anymore.
posted by Malor at 1:45 PM on December 31, 2012


YOLO, the poor man's carpe diem.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


There is kinda an trend to retake YOLO and remake it into a cautionary term. Less " ima get drunk and have unprotected sex YOLO" and more "you should contribute to your 401k and plan for your retirement, YOLO"
posted by Ad hominem at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd sort of guessed that it was a cry or call of some sort, by jerks.
posted by Malor at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2012


My son said YOLO the other day and I had no idea what he was talking about.

The 'should be banished' phrase I keep seeing lately is "full disclosure," now apparently used to describe one simple fact... definitely not a 'full' disclosure.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2012


YOLO, the poor man's ignorant twit's carpe diem.

FTFY. It's got 90% more swag now.
posted by Talez at 1:50 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Be careful what you wish for. "Full disclosure" would certainly be replaced by "transparency".
posted by klarck at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You obviously like owls -- the first use of YOLO I ever saw. I am clearly not swaggin'.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


hellojed: They really want someone who will stay on long-term and accept lower pay, because the job is their "passion" and they'd do it for free if they could.

Likewise, any want ad seeking a "rockstar" is just looking for someone really talented who is willing to take a position that they are overqualified for and then get continually shat upon from a great height.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:54 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always figured "rockstar" meant this will be your first programming job and you still think you are hot shit and you write blog posts about how awesome refactoring is and how much OO sucks.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:08 PM on December 31, 2012


I agree. We should all start using "passionate" as a verb, like "inculcate" or "replicate."
posted by Nomyte at 2:14 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nomyte that reminds me that I prescriptivistively freak the fuck out when somebody uses the word "favorite" as a verb. But "passionate" I sort of like at first glance.
posted by bukvich at 2:26 PM on December 31, 2012


Can we also banish "friend zone" while we're at it?
posted by Talez at 2:26 PM on December 31, 2012


I nominate hard-on as the replacement for passion. E.g., "I have a hard-on for SEO and New Media."
posted by Mister_A at 2:32 PM on December 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


the twitter-driven verbed noun "Trending",
"Trend" has been a verb since English was in its swaddling clothes. Sure, it used to mean "roll", but I hardly think the meaning of the noun influencing that of the verb is much to anger at.
posted by Jehan at 2:33 PM on December 31, 2012


Also, let's get rid of everything ending in '-gasm'. Well, almost everything.
posted by Mister_A at 2:34 PM on December 31, 2012


I wish the transitive use of grow--like "grow your business"--would never again be mentioned either.

Also while we're at it, shitty reductive othering via the nebulous praise of calling a person/culture "proud," "fierce," "defiant," and what's that other word that makes me want to start hitting people? Oh, "unflinching."
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I nominate hard-on as the replacement for passion.

I'm sorry, but I already use the hard-on as punctuation. Unh!
posted by Nomyte at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep tapir all those words basically mean, "CEO is a self-absorbed douche who likes to fondle account execs and bully everyone else."
posted by Mister_A at 2:37 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be willing to remove the letters in "job creators" from the alphabet if it would ensure that that phrase was never uttered again.
posted by hwestiii at 2:41 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish the transitive use of grow--like "grow your business"--would never again be mentioned either.

Also: corn, wheat, hair…
posted by Nomyte at 2:42 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah. "I'm all wet for" SEO and New Media.
posted by telstar at 2:47 PM on December 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


At the end of the day...
posted by 4ster at 2:48 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Almost annually, I am disappointed by those who don't differentiate between words and terms.
posted by Tube at 2:48 PM on December 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll tell you what I've been struggling with: "struggles with." Strike it from the lexicon immediately. Because YOLO.
posted by scratch at 2:49 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just had an SEO and New Mediagasm.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dear Metafilter,
YOLOtm is a registred Trademark of DrakeTM, and DrakeTM will require the immediate payment of royalties.
Chill, or cut a cheque.

So many of these words and phrases I haven't heard until recently. What's up with that?
posted by Mezentian at 2:52 PM on December 31, 2012


Can we ban stupid nouns as stupid verbs?
"I'll Instragram that!"

Also: "Selfie".
posted by Mezentian at 2:54 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be willing to remove the letters in "job creators" from the alphabet if it would ensure that that phrase was never uttered again.

But then I'd have to change my name to Y.

That being said, I'd change my name to Y if we could get rid of the phrase "That being said".

I agree with all the ones on the list, but except for "Job Creators" they don't seem quite as annoying as in previous years.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:55 PM on December 31, 2012


Let's just ban all the words and sit in silence in the dark eating oatmeal.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:12 PM on December 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let's just ban all the words and sit in silence in the dark eating oatmeal.


Yes! Finally! I call the plain oatmeal.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:18 PM on December 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Not "gun control". "Life creator" law.
posted by telstar at 3:18 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who grew up in Davis, CA, I am sincerely and wholeheartedly in favor of returning Yolo to its original meaning.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:20 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Since when is "Fiscal Cliff" one word?
posted by Sailormom at 3:25 PM on December 31, 2012


"Trending" has meant something since before Twitter was invented. "Moving, on average, in a particular direction." The problem is not the word, but that people feel the need to use any word to describe something that is momentarily popular on Twitter. Indeed, it's arguably a misuse of the word, because doesn't the word carry with it a connotation of performance over time, something which is almost oxymoronic in the Twitter context.
posted by valkyryn at 3:33 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Trending" for me was a word that researchers used when they wanted to pretend that their statistically insignificant data was actually significant in complete defiance of the actual meaning of significance testing. So I find the current usages, which I treat as 'ignore this meaningless filler' tend to work perfectly.
posted by srboisvert at 4:20 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I live in Yolo County. I am very tired of hearing about this. It ended up being my county's theme in the state fair (it won second place) and is now the theme behind a magazine.

makeitstopplease
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:29 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


We are seeking an "out-of-the-box-thinker" proficient in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:35 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, "whatever*".

*(a word banished in 1997)
posted by iviken at 4:48 PM on December 31, 2012


My lawn. Get off it.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:12 PM on December 31, 2012


I like "self-driven" "talent" who "thrive in a fast-paced environment."
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:17 PM on December 31, 2012


I like "self-driven" "talent" who "thrive in a fast-paced environment."

When I drive to the store, that nearly describes the experience. Well, I guess it would have to read as follows to be accurate:

I like "driving" "my lazy ass" to the store, who "cannot fucking believe that people DRIVE 35 IN A 50, JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU."
posted by maxwelton at 6:15 PM on December 31, 2012


I wish the transitive use of grow--like "grow your business"--would never again be mentioned either.

How will farmers be allowed to talk?

Jed: What are you looking at planting this spring, Garth?

Garth: This year I'm going to output mostly rye and barley, but I might facilitate a few rows of alfalfa if prices look good.

I mean...??????
posted by Sara C. at 7:10 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lexical chunks, no matter word or short phrase it's the smallest meaningful bit of language. Compound word, word, idiomatic phrase, phrasal verb, etc.

People often use "word" to mean "lexical chunk" because lexical chunk is an ungainly bit of jargon.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:33 PM on December 31, 2012


I'm happy "passion" is on there. I cringe whenever it shows up on want ads. Last week someone forwarded me one that wanted someone with a "Passion" for automated QA testing. When applying for my current job, the recruiter was disappointed I hadn't conveyed that I had a "passion" for the "mobile space" during the interview (I got the job anyway). It would be great if everyone involved in HR would stop lying to each other and stop using this word.

I'm always trying vainly to eradicate this from students' job application letters in bus. writing courses. One well-intentioned person wrote a cover letter for an elementary teaching job and mentioned she was "passionate about children," and I'm like, oh. no. REALLY not the word you want to use in this context.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:49 PM on December 31, 2012


For the general public who don't work in marketing: form factor; price point; colorway.
posted by Flashman at 9:45 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since this is one of the few times where it's appropriate to bitch about it, I can't stand the term "dev", a shortening of developer. I get white knuckles of rage for some reason when I read things like "those devs are talented" or "we need to hire more devs" or "the foosnarf devs released a new version." You have so many words you could have chosen: programmer, coder, maintainer, developer. Did you really have to create this awful sounding shortened form?
posted by Rhomboid at 9:59 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


none of those piss me off as much as "flash mob"
posted by facetious at 11:47 PM on December 31, 2012


Mezentian: So many of these words and phrases I haven't heard until recently. What's up with that?

I think it means we're getting old, and we're no longer at the center of online culture.
posted by Malor at 12:12 AM on January 1, 2013


You've never seen YOLO? Clearly you need to spend more time at browncardigan. Radge.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:03 AM on January 1, 2013


That's crazy talk.

I know who Drake is and why browncardigan is hilarious.
(But until the post on the Blue I throught YOLO meant You Obviously Like Owls too).
posted by Mezentian at 1:19 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate bucket list. Both the word and the concept. I prefer to make a list of all the stuff I'm going to do AFTER I die.
posted by sonika at 5:16 AM on January 1, 2013


none of those piss me off as much as "flash mob"

Again, the term does have real meaning independent of the way it's currently being used. It's a corruption of Larry Niven's flash crowd concept, i.e., the sudden, largely unplanned gathering at scenes of interest of large numbers of people connected by the internet and mobile devices.

Now it just means a whole lot of people showing up in public and doing something stupid. These are generally planned in some detail, sometimes including the provision of props. Those Improv Anywhere skits? Calling those "flash mobs" is a horrible use of the term.

But what happened in Tunisia and Egypt? A bunch of people hearing that shit is going down right now, and it's time to get downtown? Flash mob.
posted by valkyryn at 5:22 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I work in a large consulting firm... so yeah I get exposed to a lot of jargon. The saying I 'd love to banish is "table stakes" - as in "being proficient in skill X is just table stakes to be considered for project y". I must hear it 3 or 4 times a day - surely we are over the poker obsession of the last few years.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:18 AM on January 1, 2013


I had never heard of a 'bucket list' until today, when I saw it in a friend's Facebook post. I assumed that it was some sort of app.
posted by mister_kaupungister at 8:50 AM on January 1, 2013


I've been waiting for someone to banish the spoiler alert since I got dissed for not delivering one while discussing Titanic on a mailing list during its original theatrical release. I have news for you: the boat sinks!
posted by immlass at 9:12 AM on January 1, 2013


Trending, for me, does not bring the howling fantods quite the way that hashtag does. I mean, yes, the symbol has a function in social networking communication, but when I hear it spoken, it is usually by some chipper and clueless Social Media Marketing Expert and that I will next be forced to look at some out of context tweets or God forbid a Twitter wall. Just... just no. Please no.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:36 PM on January 1, 2013


One well-intentioned person wrote a cover letter for an elementary teaching job and mentioned she was "passionate about children," and I'm like, oh. no. REALLY not the word you want to use in this context.

A couple guys on a podcast I listen to gave themselves the giggles repeating the same stupid joke over and over and then scolded themselves by repeating several times, "We're such children."

Except instead of the word "such" they used the intensifier "fucking."
posted by straight at 3:08 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


YOLO

Maybe, but what if you have to live that ONE life over and over, as in Groundhog Day, throughout eternity, until you get it right? Each time reborn in the same body, the same town, the same people, the same bad advice, the same everything ... And what if, each time around, you forget most of what you learned the last time?

Ouspensky wrote the story. Live it or live with it!
posted by Twang at 3:31 PM on January 1, 2013


I'd like to take a moment to celebrate the death of the phrase "speaking truth to power"
posted by fullerine at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Several years back one of our local community colleges put together one of those low-budget commercials for the school. You know, the kind that is created by the people majoring in tv production and starring real students? Imagine the school's logo, blown up from a low-res image so it's all grainy, displayed in motion via green-screen behind a person. She's a woman in her early 20s, wearing a backpack, staring blankly into the camera. In a perfect monotone, expressionless voice she drones, "Cabinetmaking is my passion." Cut to a bullet-point list of career paths you can explore at the school and a flashing phone number. It's my favorite local commercial of all time.
posted by vytae at 8:28 PM on January 1, 2013


I had never heard of a 'bucket list' until today, when I saw it in a friend's Facebook post. I assumed that it was some sort of app.

This one got increasingly popular a few years back.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:18 PM on January 1, 2013


Lake Superior State University . . . is known for its academic programs such as fisheries and wildlife management, engineering, nursing, criminal justice, fire science and business management.

I would like to banish the use of academic to mean vocational.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:34 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate the modern corporate-hot-air version of the words "passion" and "passionate" with a... nevermind.

So does David Mitchell.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:38 PM on January 2, 2013


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