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Monday, February 21, 2005

Words I hate

There are some terms that make me writhe with frustration. The sight or sound of them cause an instant change in mood. This is, of course. irrational - they're just words - but they engender a feeling of anger, frustration and sadness.

In print, the A and E are printed together. There is no reason for the hatred of this, but every time I see it, I want to shout "Why do you need the A? What's wrong with 'demon'?" My brain reads the 'a' out loud every time, it becoming day-eeemon. Drop the effing 'a'. Philip Pullman's books were ruined for me by this.

This is the one that inspired this post. This word means ruler, king, monarch. But oh no, some wag in the US decided to use it as someone appointed to review and change policy. Why? We've had Haliwell the drug tsar. Oxford now has its own traffic tsar. Why? What's the point? How has tsar come to mean policy reviewer? The word is steeped in Russian and European history, it has nothing to do with politics. And it's like a rolling snowball, it seems to be used more and more often. I think I shall become the tsar tsar and attempt to stop it's usage. Maybe I should hack the wikipedia page as a starting point.

This is the one that throws me into the biggest rage. A symbol of lazy cliched journalism, our newspapers are littered with it. Camillagate, Sqeeugiegate, Closethebloodygate. On the one hand, it's meaningless. Watergate was a hotel. Bad memories for Nixon. The -gate suffix is nothing. And yet, it's acceptable to turn any scandal into a -gate. The -gate has a meaning of its own. No it bloody well doesn't. It's journalists who can't be arsed to come up with anything more interesting.

How often do you hear the following news story:
"Blah blah scandal blah report blah and people are now calling it XYZgate." No, 'people' are not calling it XYZgate, the newsroom staff are calling it, along with the rest of the reporters who fall back on tried, tested, and dull cliches to make a small scandal sound more interesting in an attempt to convince a bored public that it's somehow relevant.

I'm pissed off now. Those three words deserve to be banned.

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