Dear Dirty America



December 28
16:35 2012
Or… The joys of being able to make up one’s own words at will.
A fallow field, ND
Checking my Twitter feed while I’m snowed under in this post-apocalyptic bunker, a couple of related stories caught my attention.  To the inexplicable furor of some, apparently the term YOLO has not won the Oxford American Dictionary’s competition for word of the year.  I had to look it up before recognising the asinine maxim, “You only live once,” typically uttered before jumping from something highly situated or guzzling a handle of vodka.
Normally, fatuous acronyms notwinning awards are not generally the subject of ire, news, or even passing mention.  But such is the strength of popular support, especially when bolstered by innumerable huffy teens and their twittering little fingers (fngs, I’m sure they’re doubtless called by now).  I was going to look into some juicy response videos on YouTube, but couldn’t compel myself to watch any of them.  So here’s an ancient music video by the Strokes instead.
According to OxAmDic’s blog (blog being another recent addition to the vernacular), it was GIFthat won the contest, edging out several other contenders, including Super PAC, superstorm, Eurogeddon, nomophobia, MOOC, and the actually meaningful Higgs boson.
GIF goes on to join the hallowed ranks of the body’s previous victors, including:
squeezed middle – actually two words, used to describe a perceived shrinking of America’s middle class.
refudiate – Sarah Palin’s only lasting contribution to the culture, akin to G.W. Bush’s words strategery and nucular.
unfriend – Facebook’s only contribution to the English language, along with dropping the be- prefix from the verb befriend.
hypermiling – an auto industry term for maximising fuel efficiency through anal micromanaging via innumerable gauges and prompters.
locavore – I have never heard anyone use this rebarbative term, nor would such a thing go unmocked if it happened to come up in conversation.
carbon-neutral – another pairing of words, chosen for its spot on emphasis on keeping outputs that contribute to global warming at a status quo.
podcast – by far the most commonly used of OxAmDic’s best new words listing, to describe any internet-accessible yobbo’s media feed.
New words aren’t an internet phenomenon, thankfully.  Dickens was famous for his tongue-twizzlers, as was Shakespeare.  Nor is weighing the merits of the slangs and slingables of the time; the American Dialectical Society has been running a fairly comprehensive Word of the Year competition since 1991.  Needless to say, bushlips hasn’t much caught on despite winning the title, but there are plenty of other words it joins in the limbo of obscurity.  Not to be a hater (another detestable, newish turn of phrase), but my trust lies in YOLO eventually becoming a partner on that journey.
The son of two continental fathers, Dan Rudy is torn between competing consonants s and z(ed) in their unending battle for verbal purity.  One can follow along at the sidelines of this war at,


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