Listicles are out. It says so right there on Lake Superior State University's annual listicle of "banished words."
With only about 2,100 students, LSSU, in Sault Ste. Marie, is Michigan's smallest public university. But this weekend — for the 42nd year — it generated bigly publicity by proclaiming its words "Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness."
The list — which is winnowed down from nominations sent in by the public — is a gleeful publicity stunt conceived by the late Bill Rabe, who was the university's puckish P.R. director for many years. (Among his other creations: an annual world stone-skipping championship and an annual snowman burning.)
After a presidential campaign universally described as nasty, the 2016 list is heavy on politics. Among this year's entries, with LSSU's annotations:
- Town Hall Meeting — Candidates seldom debate in town halls anymore. Needs to be shown the door along with "soccer mom(s)" and "Joe Sixpack" (banned in 1997).
- Post-Truth — To paraphrase the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts.
- Echo Chamber — Lather, rinse, and repeat. After a while, everything sounds the same.
- Bigly — Did the candidate say "big league" or utter this 19th-Century word that means, in a swelling blustering manner? Who cares? Kick it out of the echo chamber!
- Disruption — Nominators are exhausted from 2016's disruption. When humanity looks back on zombie buzzwords, they will see disruption bumping into other overused synonyms for change.
Buzzwords often make the list, and this year's is no different. The university also chose entries like:
- "You, Sir" (a mock indignant form of personal address in an argument).
- "On fleek" (a phrase complimenting someone's well-groomed appearance; LSSU says it should be used to refer only to eyebrows).
- "Dadbod" (which the school says is too often used as an excuse for middle-age men to let themselves go).
- "831" (texting shorthand for "I love you": eight letters, three words, one meaning. "Never encrypt or abbreviate one's love," the university says.
The full list:
- Bête noire
- Echo chamber
- Get your dandruff up
- On fleek
- Selfie drone
- Town hall meeting
- You, sir
"Overused words and phrases are a 'bête noire' for thousands of users of the 'manicured' Queen's English," LSSU said in a statement. "We hope our modest 'listicle' will figure 'bigly' in most 'echo chambers' around the world."