Spoiler alert

Trending With Tracy Spoiler alert is one of the entries to the 2013 List of Banished Words, published today by Lake Superior State University. The 12 words and phrases are accompanied by comments by those who nominated them:

“I’m sick of chirpy entertainment commentators constantly informing us of what ‘is trending right now.’ I used to like a good trend until this,” wrote Nancy of Victoria, British Columbia.

“(We’ve) lost sight of the metaphor and started to think it’s a real place, like with the headline, ‘Obama, Boehner meeting on fiscal cliff,’” opined Barry Cochran, of Portland, Oregon.

I’ve made the Banished Word list a New Year tradition for a number of years, but I can’t help feeling it’s losing some of its pizzazz. Certainly the comments seem tired, even cranky. On the term YOLO (You Only Live Once), Daniel of Hickory, North Carolina, groused,  “Just gives people, especially teens, a reason to do stupid things. I find it annoying and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.”

Well, yeah, all the phrases on the list are annoying. But for the first time, the comments are starting to become annoying, too. In their complaining that certain words and phrases are overused and predictable, the nominators themselves are becoming predictable.

Still. with his comment about Job Creators, Bob Fandrich of Fredericksburg, Virginia, makes a valid point:

“If these guys are capitalists, as claimed, they are focused on reducing expenses and maximizing profit. Jobs are a large part of expenses. So, if anything at all, they minimize employment to maximize profits. Up is down, black is white. Job creators are really employment minimizers.”

Two of my favorites on this year’s list stood outside the election cycle: Passion/Passionate and Guru.

“Diabetes is not just Big Pharma’s business, it’s their passion! This or that actor is passionate! about some issue somewhere. A DC lobbyist is passionate! about passing (or blocking) some proposed law, said George Alexander of Studio City, California, who called it a “phony-baloney word.”

“Unless you’re teaching transcendental meditation, Hinduism or Buddhism, please don’t call yourself a guru just because you think you’re an expert at something, “Mitch Devine of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, practically pleaded. “It’s silly and pretentious.”

I don’t remember which term I nominated this year or what my comment was. (I really should write these things down.) But my nomination for the 2014 list is that the Wise Ones at LSSU weigh the quality of the comments as they choose which words to banish.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Spoiler alert

  1. Charles Levey

    I disagree with the comment about the word “guru”. It has come into our culture and now has an accepted meaning of “expert” in some field or other. Originally (and probably wrongly) it entered our culture with the limited meaning of some kind of eastern spiritual teacher. I’m no Sanskrit expert ( or “guru”) but I know that in the Khmer (Cambodian) language, which has tons of Pali (~ Sanskrit) words, the word “kru” means simply “teacher”, and that, I think, is what the word “guru” really means deep down after all (kind of like the original meaning of “rabbi”).

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