Every year, on New Year's Day Lake Superior State University comes out with a list of words that should forever be "banished" from the English language. As the university would have it these words are banished for
"for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness"
Since I arrived in the US in December when I read the papers, I perused over the 2007 list. Some of the words are
combined celebrity names like "Brangelina"
"Now playing in Theaters"
and my pet peeve
"Ask your doctor"
Well, Gitmo is army slang for "Guantanamo". During the Cold War, hearing the word "Gitmo" probably irritated only GIs assigned to that hardship post. Now civilians who are against George W Bush's policies are irritated too.
I need not comment on "Brangelina" but "Now Playing in Theaters" was the subject of a comment from a lady "How often are movies premiered in laundromats?" "Awesome"! For the adjective challenged, this is the word of choice.
Undocumented alien? This word might as well describe an alien bacterium from Mars. As for people, well if you are in the US without the necessary papers, then you're illegal! A New Jersey gentleman compared this to a drug dealer who is really an "undocumented pharmacist".
Ask your doctor. Perhaps this is the worst. Before I had cable TV in my apartment, I wondered why this phrase should be banished. Only when I turned on the TV that the answer became apparent.
American TV is peppered with commercials for drugs. A drug for sleeplessness, allergies, ED, cholesterol etc. Each minor or major complaint has a drug. Since baby boomers are now aging bombers, these commercials target their demographic. And all of these commercials end with words "Ask your doctor".
To which a Washington gent advises ""Ask your doctor if 'fill in the blank' is right for you! Heck, just take one and see if it makes you 'fill in the blank' or get deathly ill."
My favorite is this TV ad for a contraceptive. A group of young women in their late 20s or early 30s in a cocktail party discuss women's sex issues. And suddenly one woman belts out "blank does not protect you from herpes....... women over 35 may develop serious complications like heart disease.....blah blah blah........ so you should not smoke......blah blah blah. Then another woman retorts "Boy you sure know your stuff!" And the other woman says "I did not go the medical school for nothing." "Show off!"
Seriously "Ask your doctor if blank is right for you"
Doctor dramatization. The drug company has for a disclaimer.