Tag Archives: language

Banished from the English language: “flip-flopper”

Every once in awhile a new term/catchphrase/buzzword/meme catches fire here in the US. Sometimes it’s a function of the fact that our incredibly plastic language, with its myriad dynamic influences (everything from media to subcultural to ethnic to technological) sort of inherently generates new words. Other times the term is a result of political or PR craftiness, as was the case with “Japan-bashing” (and subsequently, any more generalized iteration of “______-bashing”). The lobbyist who made the phrase up later famously said “Those people who use (the term) have the distinction of being my intellectual dupes.” Read more

Dr. Slammy in 2008: A thinkpower curriculum for the 21st Century

Hi. I’m Sam Smith, and I’m running for president on a platform that stresses education’s critical role in solving our nation’s problems and assuring a future of universal opportunity for all citizens. Today I’m introducing my platform plank on curriculum, a cornerstone concern for any productive educational system.


One size does not fit all. It goes without saying that we must emphasize education in mathematics and the sciences, as these skills provide the foundation we need to compete in a world of increasing technical complexity. Language, writing and communication skills, which have been sadly de-emphasized in the past 20 years, are also essential. Read more

The S&R list of banned phrases, vol. 1

We all have pet peeves when it comes to language – terms or phrases that grate on our nerves, common misuses that drive us bonkers, etc. But past the mere annoyances there’s a more corrosive category of terminology that does actual damage to the culture. Words and expressions that, when we hear them, signal that either someone is an idiot or thinks we are. Subtle misdirections designed to leave us believing things that aren’t true. Constructions carefully crafted to encourage us to hear that which wasn’t actually said. And so on.

So the S&R team has pulled together a brief primer of terms and phrases that we don’t ever want to hear again, at least not in the cynical context in which we’re accustomed to encountering them. (If anything here offends you because you do it, too, and you don’t think you’re guilty, don’t feel bad. As we’ve looked over each other’s entries some of us have been indicted, as well.)

From Sam Smith

Support the troops: Know what – we all support the troops, bitch. Read more