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As Long as We Remember...

December 30, 2013

2013 Words and Phrases in Review

Steven R. Berryman

Words matter, and 2013 was no different in that respect (is something you earn.) The choices and usages, plus those newly added can exemplify the current insanity (is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.)


Undisputed king of the throw-away words for the year is “whatever.” It is a word that simultaneously means nothing, means I don’t care what you said, means just do what you want to do...but then I will kill you! As in “Whatever, honey.”


Dude is a word that is a noun, pronoun, adjective, and exclamatory comment meaning “you are the best” or “what did you do that for?”....depending on the trajectory of the inflicting spokesman. As in “Yo, Dude!” [also can be a cowboy or a ranch]


Twerking I have no idea what this word means, even after viewing video clips on YouTube purporting to demonstrate this athletic display by dancing women. I think I saw this in a Lamaze class, but am not sure (that may have been a kegel.) The two words seem to be intimately connected in some way, though.


Ameliorate can be defined as either “a successful date with Amy,” or to improve something. Correct usage: We attempted to ameliorate the negative and (presumably) unintended consequences of Obamacare, but honest analysis revealed the concept so flawed that it had to be completely scrapped, and the original intent used as a fresh start. Sadly, most Republicans and Democrats have not embraced this usage.


An obfuscation is an attempt to confuse and or hide an issue that is embarrassing as in a bad political decision or program. Food Stamp program usage and the War on Poverty are two examples. This administration claims as wins when more are enrolled in total entitlements, as if this were a goal, and even advertises for additional participation with your tax dollars. This position obfuscates the truth that politically motivated social programs have made us dependent and bankrupt at once. Goodwill be damned.


Phrase of the year 2013 is “Are you kidding me?” It can be used just after a fetal sonogram session, a football game, a passive-aggressive argument, and after receiving your Christmas present. All usages are apropos. Try not to use this in the same sentence as “whatever” It just boggles up the mind.


Outrageous – This word has changed over time. Back when I was a YMCA camp counselor in 1977, it was a great slang substitute for “really cool,” or “I’m really excited about that.” Today it fully describes the total breakdown of what had been “checks and balances” between Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government. They secretly provide cover for each other. In return, The White House allows for the re-election of most Democrat and Republican senators and representatives. Congress throws fake punches at the president and pretends each party is really different. (also see façade.)


Disingenuous is a word dating back to the early 1800s that is enjoying a resurgence of usage in 2013. A dictionary definition is: “not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.” Clearly the dual winners of the modern usages are the nation of Iran, and our State Department, led by Hillary Clinton. The former wants us to know about upgrades to its nuclear centrifuge program (toward a better bomb faster) and the latter sees no connection to a politically based “agreement” with said rogue nation.  (Leadership is NOT a word we like to attribute to 2013)


Façade (also see outrageous) is a fake store-front, or an outer appearance – created with other obfuscating words, as in the Duck Dynasty scandal. When the convergence of Christianity and tolerance for homosexuality are compared and contrasted on the national stage you know that: 1) Ratings for said reality show will soar; and 2) The real news of the day will be shoved from the headlines as people evaluate their own personal 2013 year in review. How’s the “recovery” been for you?


Negotiate/Cooperate: These words did not stand the test of time in 2013. The former used to be to “come together and trade-off concessions to each other in search of a mutually agreeable outcome. The latter used to be how we got there, actually listening and considering reasonable positions at face value, without the chess-player-like political consequences evaluation.


Today, this concept is used to fool the people into believing real work is happening behind closed doors of government.


Going back to do more research on “twerking” now.


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