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WORDS: A group of linguists at Lake Superior State University has released it's list of so-called banished words for 2004. The press release has the story but no link to the list for some reason. Thanks to Google I found it though: http://www.lssu.edu/banished. While I have problems with their inclusion of some words/phrases, I hope people follow this list and get rid of at least metrosexual and bling-bling, two of the dumbest and most overused words of 2003. Beyond the general problems I have with the word metrosexual, which perports to describe men who like shopping for shoes, wearing makeup, and overdoing their grooming with another word besides effeminate, meaningless media words should not enter the general vocabulary of the populace. The only two places where I can see this word applying are LA and New York (not surprisingly, the two big media towns). Unless you live in one of those cities I would venture to say you do not know any metrosexuals. Don't even get me started on bling-bling.

The ones I don't agree with are LOL, smoking gun, and shots rang out except in terms of overuse and in the case of LOL, use anywhere but in email and instant messaging. In electronic written communication, LOL is a very valuable way of showing important body language that you can't show in the written word. Smoking gun and shots rang out may be cliches, but they did not originate in Iraq as the list seems to say. And shots do ring if you're using the definition of ring that says To give forth a clear resonant sound or To be filled with sound so they're wrong on those. Maybe if I watched the news I'd understand the over-use of these phrases but they're useful so I won't be getting rid of them.

All in all, I'm glad to see people at least giving thought to the words they use. I was given the Dictionary of Troublesome Words for Christmas and even just skimming through it I've gotten a lot more aware of the completely incorrect ways people tend to use a lot of words and phrases. Words are important but people tend to look upon those who try to speak correctly as fussy or picky and dismiss them. Oh well, I say. Words have meanings and our tendency to misuse them and pass it off as unimportant bugs me to no end.