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(Mar. 4, 2008)

          The Lingo Czar has been in a long period of reclusion, apparently overwhelmed by the enormity and futility of his job. Someone slipped Xanax into the royal chalice, however, and The Czar quite suddenly began issuing new proclamations. Here they are.
          Citizens are hereby advised to refrain from the following worn-out phrases, buffoonish slang, buzzwords and airy mispronunciations infecting and muddling lingo in this, the alleged 21st century. They are rated: T (trite), A (asinine), P (pretentious), W (whoops), and CP (criminally prosecutable, or damn well should be.)

BLOGGERLY---It’s a new board game from Parker Brothers! It's a disease your grandmother used to complain about! It's a new cartoon about a misanthropic fat white guy from Klasky-Csupo! It's an adjective meaning “with profound stupidity and self-importance.” Well, actually, that last one is close. Bloggerly is word-like thing used as adjective to describe something done in blog-like fashion---or at least it was on a blog by a lady with the wonderful name of Tree Riesener. The Czar hopes that bloggerly stays planted with Tree, but figures the odds of this are about as great as Bush learning to say “nuclear.” Here is Tree’s quote: “In the link to my blog, you'll find a bloggerly approach to life and places where you can post your thoughts.” God save the world from a “bloggerly approach to life.” There is already enough preening and narcissistic blathering, isn’t there? Bloggerly is further evidence that blogs should be licensed. Preferably by The Czar. A.

SHOUT OUT---You know, The Czar is tired of people shouting. There is plenty of shouting all the time, everywhere, every day. Movie previews shout. TeeVee commercials shout. TeeVee News mannequins shout the news (they really do.) Political candidates shout speeches. So the Czar sings, "Shout! (little bit softer now. . .)." Why add to all the shouting by turning a simple greeting into an outburst, even metaphorically? Well, of course, "shout out"  is more of geeky white America’s gawky appropriation of “urban” (read: black, read: latino, read: ghetto, read: hip-hop) patois in the interests of appearing “cool.” More accurately, it is the media’s appropriation of same, as it continues to exalt as wonderful anything that emerges from rap/gangsta/ black/latino/”urban” culture---from fashion to music to. . .lingo. The hapless saps of white America simply do as they are told. (How else to account for white housewives calling talk shows and saying, “what up?”) “Give a shout out,” which is sometimes coupled with, “to my homies,” is also part of the general obliteration of grace, restraint, civility. (Need it be said?) One does not merely say “hello” any longer, as this is considered wimpy, repressed, lily-livered. . .white. The Czar is a student of slang, and enjoys it well enough as an adjunct to language. The glorification of it by media has resulted in an erosion of language, which is something to shout about. As in “Aieeeeeeee!” T, A, CP.

TEAM-BUILDING---From the soulless, heartless, nearly skinless world of the corporate cubie, “team-building” is a sort of Newspeak notion meant to suggest processes resulting in camaraderie, teamwork, the ever-popular “synergy,” and just plain ol’ togetherness. Of course, it really comes down to corporate managers designing infantile, intelligence-insulting exercises that force people with or without natural rapport to do things together that they probably do not want to do. Get your employees in a group and have them all bang on a drum for a half-hour! Get them to attend a stupid picnic on their time off and have everyone play volleyball! Get them all to sit in a circle and tell a joke to each other! This is the level of sophistication of those who earn advanced degrees in “human resources” and “management.” Imagine getting a degree to learn this sort of degrading drek! It bloggerlys the mind. Now, the thing about “team-building” is that it tends to happen among persons with good chemistry---something that cannot be imposed---and it tends to happen naturally, gradually, regardless of supervisor edict. But this is practically commie ranting to any self-respecting corporate corporal. Okay everyone, now we’re all going to tell each other our middle names! T, A, P, CP.

NEURASTHENIC---Up until recently, this term was found largely in psychology textbooks, but now roving hordes of slavering critics---ever-hungry to tear still more slivers of esoteric vocabulary from the bones of clear communication—have discovered “neurasthenic.” They use it to describe music, painting, sculpture, writing---why, any human utterance at all. It’s really kind of fun to see them all compete, these jolly critics, as they try to out-describe their competitors and colleagues. Oh, you didn’t know? They’re not writing for you, silly! They are writing to hear and see themselves speak and write, and to mark their critical territory with ever more potent excretions from their lingo scent glands. They are, in short, strutting and displaying plumage for other critics, and they do this by drawing upon Harvard doctoral thesis-level vocabulary---whether from their own heavily compacted brain convolutions, or a Thesaurus, doesn’t matter. Oh---neurasthenic? It refers to fatigue, sickness, nervous exhaustion. The music is neurasthenic? The music lacked energy. The music was sluggish, slow, soporific. Whoops, getting into critic lingo myself there. See? Anyone can do it! P.

DISS---Enough of diss crap. Diss is the most disagreeable “urban”/black /hiphop/whatever slang to ever be dispersed into mainstream discourse. More dismaying, even, than “‘Sup.” If you don’t have a vocabulary, please go ahead and declaim “diss.” If you do, please defer to “criticize,” “disparage,” “chide,” “castigate,” “knock,” etc. Diss kind of two-year-old talk is disgusting, disheartening, really just plain dismal. Please discontinue, dismiss, and otherwise dislodge diss. T, A.

WE’RE PREGNANT!---No, you (collective) are not, lady. You are. Your husband’s abdomen is not beginning to protrude. Yours is. Your husband’s brain is not swimming with hormonal chaos. Yours is. Your husband is not ecstatic over the prospect of trying to find the hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a son or daughter. You are. Your husband does not have a craving to eat dirt. You do. A.

I’M GOOD---Indicating “everything is okay,” or “status quo acceptable,” or “it’s cool, baby,” I’m good is another indicator, if subtle, of today’s pervasive emphasis on self, and staggering absence of empathy. Why should “Would you like some sassafras tea in your ear?” elicit “I’m good?” Instead of “not really” or “no, thank you.” No, all is directed, focused, centered around. . .me. Want to go to the store with me? I’m good. Want to see a movie? I’m good. Want to sit on a barrel cactus? I’m good. This probably developed from movies, as, of course, much modern language usage does. In fact, the scriptwriter of today is actually a sort of Lingo Czar---dictating widespread new syntax and vocabulary employment! And that ain’t good. T, A, CP.

CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR/PROVIDER---Isn’t it enough that newspapers are going to hell, and vast numbers of humans are barely literate? Isn’t it enough that e-mail-ese, devoid of capitalization, punctuation, correct syntax, is almost universally accepted as writing? Isn’t it enough that so-called bookstores are full of best-sellers by venal televangelists and “self-help” moguls who have helped themselves to millions, courtesy of the naïve and confused? Isn’t it enough that the written word is worth less than it ever has been, unless your name is Oprah or Dr. Wayne Dyer or Suze Orman or “Diablo Cody?” Isn’t it enough to have a president who does not speak as articulately as Gomer Pyle? Isn’t it enough that fake news about vapid celebrities is a billion-dollar industry? Isn’t it enough that “snuck” is now used openly by TeeVee Newsmannequins? Isn’t it enough that the Lingo Czar labors for free for 23.7 readers per week, and all the air he can eat? Isn’t it enough that the term, “writer,” still carries mystique while editors and publishers and “media moguls” think of them as little more than necessary annoyances? Isn’t enough that a flatulent, coarse, leathery, bald old toad named Sam Zell owns and controls newspapers? Isn’t it enough (pant, pant) that everybody who types on a keyboard considers himself or herself a writer???? Isn’t it enouuuuuuggghhhhhhh!! Okay, hang on (pant pant), better in a second. . .okay. . .cough. . .ahem. . . “Content provider” seems to have emanated from the desiccated minds of computer/cubie/corporate types with framed Masters Degrees in management on their walls. In other words, you have a moneymaking framework, see? A brilliant idea, an inspiration, a sure-fire-can’t-miss website/newspaper/magazine/PR agency/brochure/pig farm. But uh. . .something’s missing here. . .Uhh. . .got the cool graphics. . .got the pics. . .got the ads. . .uh. . .Oh! I know! Need content! Yeah! Something to stuff in the blank spaces so people think they are getting something! You know, to make it look. . .official. Right. Need some, oh, words! Some dull coverage of government scandals, or interviews with dullard actors talking about “finding my voice” and all that crap. Content! Need a, uh. . .whaddyacallem? Content provider! On the other hand, given the quality of a hell of a lot of content out there, “writer” often doesn’t really cut it, does it? A, P, CP.

LOVER---Ever notice that this word is used by far more women than men? And doesn’t it sometimes seem as though it is used exclusively by women? Yes, this brings us to a delicate area, a sensitive juncture, a touchy verbal venue. We are here treading over the line from sheer vocabulary and gingerly into the realm of gender sensibility. In other words, a lover to a woman might be a completely different thing to the man doing the uh, “loving.” Or at the risk of putting it more provocatively, women just love “lover” because it makes something that might be absolutely devoid of love (probably is) a matter of romance, passion, sensuality, rapture, beauty, epiphany, and grunting. (Oh, there I go being flip again, piggish male that I am.) See, ladies, men very often---probably most of the time---do not equate mating with “love.” You ladies do, whether because you believe it to be the case, or because you need to dress up a rather indelicate entanglement in soft-focus, melting mystique, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But take note, folks, when women writers/monloguists refer to “a past lover” or “spending the night with a lover,” or “my old lover,” etc. Far be it from them to acknowledge that they were merely indulging their own animal lusts with these guys (or vice-versa!). You know, borrowing the male appendage because the batteries were dead, or other not-so-soft-focus reasons. And doesn’t it strike as ironic, if not even. . .gasp. . .hypocritical. . .when women writers/comedians/ performance artists declaim in great detail about various sex acts they have performed---as if this is bold, feminist, revolutionary, empowering, liberating---while referring to the male involved as a “lover?” To quote Seinfeld, “I. . .don’t. . .think. . .so.” T, A.

RECALIBRATE---This is the latest pompous-ass way of saying “rethink,” “reconsider,” “reevaluate,” “reexamine,” “rework,” “recalculate,” and re re re all the way home. The Czar invites one and all to use “recalibrate” as a litmus test for determining character, depth, overall worth. Now that might sound a bit drastic, but hell, everybody on the planet says “cool” now, so you can’t use that one anymore. And “diss” would be okay except that it really does have anthropological justification among the “urban” populace. So the next time you hear any politician, so-called pundit, actor, or other important Blowhard-American utilize “recalibrate” in a sentence, feel free to dismiss that person entirely from your consciousness. Render him or her of zero consequence to all human history, and even intergalactic history. Bestow the Black X. And if you are in the presence of such a person, say, at a political rally or speech, feel free to shout aloud an invitation for this person to “recalibrate” himself or herself. But phone your loved ones beforehand to let them know that you will be a few hours or a day late getting home, depending on how long the Department of Homeland Security "detains" you. A, CP.

          Have a bloggerly lingo day. And. . .

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