Fuse #8

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Archived Lists

When in doubt, make your mother do it.

Just the other day I was posting about Lake Superior State University's magnificent list of Banished Words of 2007. And in my malaise I wondered idly whether or not LSSU ever posted the early years of the list. I mean, it was started in 1975 and all.

My mother writes me back with some delightful info. They have. So I scooted on over to the 1976 List of Banished Words and here are some of the choice tidbits I found:

Scenario - Spread like wildfire after Watergate. It can be roughly translated as "I don't know what had happened (or will happen) but this is a scenario." Means: "I'm making this up." Also used when reporter doesn't want to use "according to unimpeachable source."

Detente - Invented by Henry Kissinger. Nobody else knows what it means, and now even Kissinger has forgotten. [Before the year was out the president of the United States also banished "detente." Later, voters banished Kissinger and the president.]

At This Point in Time - Why not say "now," or "today?" Typical Delay-by-Elongation, giving subject at press conference time to think up plausible lie, e.g. "At this point in time we are, err, mmmmm, unaware of the allegation that the earth is round." -Queen Isabella.
You could not make this stuff up. I love it.


At 12:33 PM , Blogger julie said...

They have every word listed from '76 on! (But what happened to 1986?)

Remember when everything was a paradigm? (Back in the day--ha,ha.) It was only banished in '94. I'm looking to find "utilize" somewhere on these lists. And is "connect the dots" there somewhere after 9/11?

At 12:36 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

"Thinking outside the box" is probably pretty recent, right?

I too wonder about '86. Did Reagan squash their mention of "voodoo economics"? Or am I getting my dates wrong?

At 4:21 PM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

For 2007 I would vote to banish the e-mail sign-off "Cheers," which somehow feels forced and more impersonal to me than "Sincerely," even though it's probably meant to be somewhere between that and "Love."

At 5:02 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Howzabout "ciao"?

At 11:27 PM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

Ha! Only permissible if you are physically in Italy, or if you've just finished a conversation entirely in Italian.


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