We’re friends, now, right? We can talk about things? I mean, really talk?
Okay, good. The English language, she is beautiful, no? And it is our job, as writers, to protect her.
Language is a living thing, of course. It evolves over time to fit our e’er-changing society, and well it should. But there’s a difference between evolution and scientific perversion–that’s how our civilization ends up getting destroyed by robots.
I am involved in an organization that is continually advertising and discussing “webinars.” And whenever I see this word, I get from my computer, go down the stairs, walk into the kitchen, open the utensil drawer, and stick a fork in my eye. The pain is exquisite, but better than a webinar.
Somewhere in this world walks free the person who decided to call the second Alvin and the Chipmunks movie “The Squeakquel.” Now, we’re not even going to discuss the fact that there is an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, and that unless I start instilling a film snobbery in my little boy now it will be my lot to see such Squeakquels. And, frankly, I’m of two minds about the name. On the one hand, it clearly heralds the downfall of Western civilization. On the other hand, there’s something obnoxiously clever about it, which is more than we had any right to hope from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Maybe this reveals my bias, but I think it’s the business world that’s done the most harm; they’ve given us incentivize and synergize and deliverables and empower and impact-as-a-verb, not to mention bring to the table and out of the box and win-win. And of course, webinar. This is all jargon, the lexical equivalent of bringing a blow-up doll to life and electing it to the Senate. It’s our job as writers to protect and celebrate the language, and keep unholy words like these from infecting us. That way, when the robots come, they’ll take the incentivizers first.