Word Terrorism: Wow, It's a Platisher

Ken Layne · 02/07/14 12:35PM

Language is our primary weapon in the ceaseless conflict that is modern life. Today we examine two words that are perfectly terrible reflections of our time: wow and platisher.

The Year's Very Worst Words Are So "Problematic"

Ken Layne · 12/31/13 01:30PM

Language is wonderful and language is alive, but language is also a form of psychological assault—especially when everybody suddenly starts using awful new terms and phrases just because everyone else is doing it, on Twitter. We are not so naive as to think we can "ban" this or that word, because "ban" is one of the words we would ban, if words could be banned. They cannot. Thanks to 2013, we're stuck with this bunch of linguistic garbage.

Word Terrorism: Black Friday Is Problematic For the Nuclear Option

Ken Layne · 11/25/13 01:51PM

problematic (noun, adjective) You're at work, looking at the Internet instead of doing tasks related to your employment. Something is bothering you! Did a celebrity comment on the issue of race? What is up with Katy Perry being so old? Why is "everyone" on Twitter mentioning a #longread that just didn't do anything for you? Welcome to the world of things that are problematic—meaning, things that don't concern you at all, as opposed to actual problems such as your parking tickets, student loans, self-diagnosed nutritional disorders and loser brother who wants to sleep on your sofa while he "looks for a job."

Word Terrorism: Send Your Selfies To the Ideas Editor

Ken Layne · 11/20/13 11:00AM

selfie: (noun) Nobody has any idea how to take a photograph of another person. Or, everyone hates you. What else explains the badly lit and poorly focused horror mugshots your so-called friends produce when pointing their phones at you? Did they try to zoom in on the first pimple you've had in three years, or are they just fundamentally inept at life? Is it absurd to think a person might use the simple photo-editing tools on every phone to change your eyes from demonic-idiot red to their actual color, or to maybe remove that sesame seed stuck between your front teeth? The selfie is your only shot at ever having a decent shot of yourself. Don't be embarrassed. Take as many pictures as it takes to get one of your beautiful face, instead of your flabby arm that somehow got all the light from the flash.

Lifehacks, Crack, and Other Words of the Day

Ken Layne · 11/05/13 12:44PM

lifehack (noun) A somber acknowledgement that while life itself is mostly boredom, disappointment and heartbreak, you can at least use up some of life's many hours with different ways to peel garlic or organize your closet shelves.

Word Terrorism: Ban CR, Or Default To Meritocracy

Ken Layne · 10/14/13 04:00PM

CR: 1. Abbreviation for "Congressional Republican," a member of an exclusive socialist commune on the Potomac River that provides private gyms, health care, pensions, tennis courts, guaranteed airline seats, reserved airport parking, fine dining, life insurance, a private subway, iPhones, postage stamps, luxury hotels and manservants. Commonly confused with the abbreviation for continuing resolution.

Word Terrorism: Can LongReads and Artisanal Beards 'Scale'?

Ken Layne · 09/23/13 02:18PM

beard: Ancient arcane term for a gay person's pretend heterosexual partner. Since the legal establishment of gay marriage, refers exclusively to lovingly tended long whiskers worn by urban men working in offices.