by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
January 8, 2006
YOU CAN'T SAY THAT, EITHER
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- "Breaking news" from that "community of learners" up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan!
Lake Superior State University (official motto: "hey, we're over here!") has released its 2006 List of Words and Phrases Banished From the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Overuse, and General Uselessness.
The annual list is compiled by a committee from nominations received throughout the year, and released on New Year's Day. It's become a favorite topic of mine for Laughing Stalk columns, partly because I'm a lover of words, good or bad, but mostly because I don't have to do a lot of research for it.
Two years ago, I nominated "anything with the word 'izzle' in it," and it actually made the list. It was a proud moment, but I failed to capitalize on the fame and glory it would bring.
So I hoped that writing about the 2006 list would make me a "person of interest," but that's one of the phrases banned by the LSSU linguists. That's a shame, because I had hoped I would be invited to parties and movie premieres. But, according to nominator Melissa Carroll of Greensboro, North Carolina, it means "people with guns want to talk with you."
Then I decided to "hunker down" in the face of my disappointment. But I couldn't do that, since this phrase also made the banned list. A casualty of the news reports on hurricanes, politics, and Britney's baby, the idea of bracing oneself and waiting out the storm has been overdone.
We could blame FEMA for it, but alas, it too made the list - more from General Uselessness than Overuse or Mis-Use, I suppose. They dedicated the entry to "the memory of a great federal agency consigned to the ash heap of parody."
(Q: How many FEMA officials does it take to change a light bulb? A: Us?! We thought YOU were going to change it!")
Coincidentally, George W. Bush's praising of FEMA head Michael Brown - "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" - just days before Brownie resigned is the Global Language Monitor's top Bushism of 2005.
Still, Brownie's resignation could hardly be considered "breaking news," especially after the way FEMA botched the Hurricane Katrina recovery. That, and "breaking news" has now been banned.
While it used to be limited to items of such newsworthiness that newspapers would literally stop their presses to put it on the front page, the term has now been reduced to celebrity factoids best confined to People and Us magazine.
Michael Raczko of Swanton, Ohio said, "Now they have to interrupt my supper to tell me that Katie Holmes is pregnant."
It looks like this "community of learners" isn't allowing much of anything. Including the phrase "community of learners."
"A five-dollar phrase on a nickel-errand," said the Banned Words website at www.lssu.edu. "Value-added into many higher education mission statements."
(Personally I'd like to add "value-added" to the list, and replace it with the simpler "more" or "better.")
And in the spirit of biting the hand that feeds you, it turns out the LSSU's School of Education has the very same phrase on their own mission statement. Will the School of Education have to remove the phrase, or will the Banned List retract the entry and issue an apology?
Probably not. I don't think it was anything more than "an accident that didn't have to happen," which was also added to the list. I have to assume it was added out of General Mis-Use, since an accident that doesn't need to happen is the true meaning of the word "accident." An accident that needed to happen is usually called "intentional."
But just like the whole "community of learners" debacle, I'm sure LSSU has faced some controversy over the past 31 years of the list's existence. But, they soldier on, year after year, determined to "Git-er-done."
And as someone who has never liked this particular phrase, I applaud LSSU for banning it. I, for one, have never known what " 'er" was, or what she needed done in the first place, but I'm tired of seeing it on bumper stickers, window decals, billboards, and yard signs. So it would be a nice gift under my "holiday tree" to know that Git-er-done finally "got did."
However - thankfully - we can't call it a "holiday tree" anymore. LSSU says it's "... a silly name for what most folks hold as a Christmas tree, no matter your preference of religion."
Agreed. No one calls a Menorah a "holiday candlestick," so why should a Christmas tree be any different? Frankly, the whole thing
Uhh, at least it used to.