WOTY candidates

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Nov 22 19:10:02 UTC 2003

At 6:09 AM -0500 11/22/03, Dave Wilton wrote:
>  > -----Original Message-----
>>  From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
>>  Of Albert E. Krahn
>>  Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 12:56 AM
>>  Subject: words of the year
>>  Allan has said that there have been some nominations for
>>  words of the year, but I don't recall seeing them on ADS-L.
>  > I'm going to nominate the expression
>>  "on the ground" in whatever the name of the
>>  category is for most unneeded. Someone can
>  > help me out with the category.
>I believe it is akin to "ground-truth," with its roots in the idea that what
>you actually fine "on the ground" is different from what you see on a map.
>Alternatively, it could be from the idea of troops awaiting to arrive by air
>or at sea awaiting to come ashore. Differentiating an "on-the-ground"
>presence from an "over-the-horizon" one.

I remember hearing this a lot in the locution "the facts on the
ground" (as opposed to the ones discussed in the press, in the war
room, etc.).  As such, or in the other cited uses, it's a not
entirely unnecessary (though perhaps still overused) retronym.  My
favorite new retronym, now that the end of another college football
season approaches, is "human polls", as opposed to the computer polls
that also figure into the BCS rankings.

Another WOTY candidate that has gotten a lot of recent play in the
college papers is "playlistism", which seems to have originated in a
Wesleyan Argus column ("iPod Envy") by Stephen Aubrey on November 4
and already has acquired 1500 google hits.


... I've discovered a new hobby, no, a new way of life, and this is
what I've come to tell you all about. Forget discriminating people
based on their race, religion, gender, or colloquial term for
four-square, it's all about playlistism. That's right, judging people
by their iTunes playlist. Now, I can't take full credit for this
idea; playlistism is really the brainchild of Katie "the iTunes
Hatemonger" Brown, but if playlistism ever takes off like the Klu
Klux Klan did, I'd be a Grand Wizard. Let me explain the basics.

Some people don't have any Elliot Smith in their playlist. This means
they're not as brooding as they ought to be and they have no respect
for the dead. Not the type of person you'd want to meet. Some people
have crazy scary German bands. These people are usually bad-ass
fascists or enjoy wearing mesh shirts. Or both. Either way, be
careful. Some people have extensive collections of show tunes, often
with accompanying karaoke-style instrumental tracks. All right, so
maybe that one is only me, but you don't know the thrill of signing
Fiddler on the Roof in your underwear. Some people have obscure bands
I've never heard of. These people are probably too cool for me and
I'll leave them alone until I have an iPod. Some people have a song
called "Dead Baby Orgy Club." I'm not sure how to respond to this one.

So I don't have an iPod. But I do have iTunes if it's any
consolation. And while I can't be cool and condescending about having
an iPod, I can be cool and condescending about people's playlists...

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