by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
Decmeber 31, 2006
HOW TO ENGINEER IMPACTFUL DELIVERABLES
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- It's that time of year when geeky humor columnists throughout the world (okay, only me) quiver with anticipation at what the new year will bring.
Last year's poor language usage reports.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Plain English Campaign, and their annual Golden Bull Awards for non-plain English writers. Not to be outdone, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) are releasing their own world's worst language examples for 2006. And like any good humor columnist stuck for a topic, I leapt at it like Nancy Grace at a murder story.
The GLM released their list of Most Politically Incorrect Words of the Year, with "macaca" coming in at number one. That was the word used by now-former Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia to describe a Democratic activist who had been following him around on the campaign trail.
The term "macaca," which also means "monkey," is an offensive slang term for people from India's sub-continent. So, naturally, the activist S.R. Sidarth - an Indian - was offended, and the media swarmed over Allen like sharks at a Nancy Grace feeding frenzy. Many pundits, including GLM president Paul J.J. Payack, believe Allen's outburst contributed to his loss in the election. That, and the fact that most people voted against Republicans this year.
"Global Warming Denier" was second on the list, referring to someone who denies the existence of global warming, refusing to accept all scientific evidence and opinions of 99 percent of the world's scientists. These people are commonly called Rush Limbaugh.
"There are now proposals that 'global warming deniers' be treated the same as Holocaust deniers: professional ostracism, belittlement, ridicule, and even jail," Payack said in a recent Reuters story.
I don't believe we should throw global warming deniers in jail, but I could get behind a little ridicule and belittlement of people who insist on denying years of scientific evidence. They should be painted with the same brush as people who still think the Earth is flat, that we never landed on the moon, and that "Puff the Magic Dragon" is not a song about marijuana.
Making an appearance as the third Most Politically Incorrect Word is "herstory," which is used as a substitute for the word "history" by radical feminists who gnash their teeth whenever someone uses the word "woman" instead of "womyn."
"Herstory" was created to remove all forms of male dominance from the regular word "history" by the same people who use the word "ovarimony," when they mean "testimony."
Unfortunately, they're rebelling against the wrong word.
"When Herodotus wrote the first history, the word meant simply an 'inquiry,'" said Payack.
You just can't argue with Herodotus. Or should that be Hisodotus?
But if they're offended by the "his" in "history," why did they leave the 'S' in "herstory?" You can't spell "his" without an 'S.' After all, it's tainted with man cooties, so they should have just removed it completely from their new word.
Of course, then you would have "hertory," and that's just as stupid as the original idea.
But my annual word watch is not just about whether words are politically correct or not. There are those annoying corporate buzzwords which pollute our language.
Buzzwords are those words people use to make themselves sound like business experts. Unfortunately, they sound like deranged executives freebasing on past issues of Ad Week.
But what if you're one of those corporate execs who need to cultivate impactful face time with your infomedaries? How can you facilitate best-of-breed interfaces? How can you tell your stakeholders about the latest strategy to synergize new mission-critical methodologies without sounding like a complete clod?
Not to worry. There's a tool for Corporatese newbies at Dack.com, called a BS generator, which I used for the previous paragraph. (Actually, it's a satirical Web site, and not actually intended for real business use.)
Just go to www.dack.com/web/bulls***.html (I'll let you figure out what the *** stands for), hit the Make Bulls*** button, and you'll create your very own Corporate BS with the click of a button.
Need to reorganize your company? Tell everyone you're going to "reintermediate cross-media bandwidth." Want to figure out how to make more money with your marketing? You need to "monetize 24/7 mindshare." And don't tell people you're trying to make things easier to use. Instead, say you're "orchestrating user-centric models." After all, nothing says "making things easier" than a 10-syllable phrase.
But despite my best efforts at ridiculing and belittling, Corporatese and other language mangling grows unchecked. It's like emptying a lake with a thimble. Only with the assistance of groups like the Global Language Monitor and Dack.com can we stamp out poor language usage.
Of course, if we succeed, that will create a problem for humor columnists like me, whose very reason for writing depends on these language abusers.
I'm not worried though. I'll just proactively repurpose my functionality.