To borrow a favorite word of mine, I am bemused over this week’s big reveal of Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year. The peeps at M. Dub went with Feminism and all I could think was . . . n’kay. Before you start throwing email F bombs my way, lemme just say that I have zero problem with the word. It’s just that, feminism (the word) had its day in the sun, a generation really. It’s time to give other words a shot.
My issue with the Word of the Year is the process whereby it is chosen. I happen to believe a word should be recognized for its aesthetic qualities as much as anything- the way it rolls off the tongue, how it makes you feel when you say it, the respect others bestow upon you for using the word. Further, the Word of the Year should be selected by a committee of peeps who understand the importance of our language- teachers, librarians, writers and Vin Scully. The popularity of a word in a given year should only be a part of the equation, not the whole enchilada. This isn’t American Idol or even a political contest, it’s much more important than that.
Kristine Phillips of the Washington Post believes Kellyanne Conway was the unwitting matriarch of this reboot of the old Gloria Steinem standard because she threw shade at the movement every chance she got. The thing about KC is, she ain’t caring about movements so much as she’s caring about getting paid. Her Cersei girl act got Twitter and Google doing all manner of Twitter and Google things, and by the time the search engines rolled to a stop . . game and set had met its match.
The wild popularity of the movie Wonder Woman is said to have contributed to the spike in searches for the victorious word as well. And I for one am all about that, because I support a woman’s right to dress herself in metallic leather. And while I realize my support of the women’s movement is indeed compromised by my inability to distinguish artful verve from sinful curve as per the lovely Gail Gadot’s turn in the blockbuster flick, I am well aware she is not really an Amazonian gladiator with superpowers. I learned her bio long before this year ever happened, thank you very much.
Now, for a look at some of the runners up for WOTY:
Complicit– If this word was a person, it would be a finely tailored hottie. It deserved a better fate than a distant second place finish. It was Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Year”, which is akin to being the NIT champion in college basketball.
Recuse- Another solid word that deserved better than the short shrift of history’s scrabble pile. If this word was a person, it would be a policy wonk who works long hours and never gets laid.
Empathy- This word would be a dead ringer for Alanis Morissette.
Dotard– Why in the fuck are we letting Kim Jong-un dictate words too?
Syzygy– If this word was a person, I would have zero fucking idea who it was.
Gyro– It’s about damn time this delicious lunch time grab gets noticed.
Federalism– If this word was a person, it would look exactly like Lindsey Graham.
Hurricane– Imma take this opportunity to wish “The U” muy buena suerte in their upcoming bowl game vs Wisconsin. Go ‘Canes!
Gaffe– If this word was a person, it would look and sound exactly like this . . .
I’m happy for Feminism– the word. I’m nothing if not a good sport, which is why I will celebrate the WOTY this weekend with a few beverages of choice; since, yanno . . . I was going to imbibe anyhow. But I feel as if a top five list of words I would have liked to have seen nominated is in order.
1- Erudite- For one thing, it’s an adjective. If adjectives were human, they would be the coolest peeps. Erudite has a beautiful child- erudition. Amazing parents (Born of the Latin Eruditus). It keeps solidly synonymous company with Scholarly and Literate. Hell, even its antonymous adversary- Benighted- is some cool shit.
2- Bacon- It’s the Lebron James of words. MVP . . every single year.
3- Quixotic- Every time I hear the word, this is me.
4- Luminous- Okay, I chose this word for one simple reason. It’s a beautiful word you never, ever hear. If your posse uses it frequently, can I hang out with y’all?
5- Ethereal- This word is out of this world. No seriously . . . look it up.
So that’s my list. I could have gone with a top 100 and not even skimmed the surface, but as my high school English teacher once opined . . . Brevity is Godliness. Ms. Doepfner introduced this boy to what a real woman was all about. She was the smartest person in any room, with a quick and biting sense of humor and a sex appeal that wasn’t concerned with the reactions it provoked, but rather the action it engendered in her mighty knee high boots.