The announcement of the Collins English Dictionary ‘words of the year’ reveals a lot about where we are as a society – and it isn’t good news.
Released through the Collins corporate blog on Wednesday, the ten words selected were chosen for sudden increase in usage over the past twelve months, cultural importance, or perceived historic significance. Reviewing the list, what becomes immediately clear is the enormous power the left has to shape language — and therefore frames of reference — and the utter banality of Western life in 2015.
The most obviously political entry is Corbynomics – the queer portmanteau of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s surname and economics – coined but three months ago during phase two of the Labour Party implosion. Although the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the word believe it heralds a new era of “kinder” politics, should Mr. Corbyn find himself prime minister, it is more like shorthand for retro 1970’s inflation and punitive taxation.
That this particular word, which if said to anyone outside of the rightly derided Westminster bubble would almost certainly be met with confusion or at least disinterest made it to this list at all feels pre-emptive. The assumption of greatness is like President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize on a tiny scale.
More relevant are the loaded Social Justice Warrior buzzwords — shaming, manspreading, transgenderism. Put about by the social left to undermine traditional Western norms — like men having testicles for instance — the shoe-horning of these words into the public conscious resembles another defeat.
Men on subway cars quite reasonably giving space to what naturally goes between their legs are now oppressive patriarchs waging war on women and airing their privilege on public transport — apparently. You can even be arrested for it.
Indeed, what were once men are not in fact at all. Part of the same intellectual wrecking ball that also informs us this week that no woman is ever completely straight (but can be completely gay), also tells us quite sincerely that gender is a fluid concept, transgenderism isn’t a mental illness, and saying otherwise ought to be a hate crime.
What was once collective societal disapproval at unpalatable behaviour — formerly expressed as loudly as Charivari but today more likely to take the form of tutting — has been transformed into ‘Slut Shaming’. A powerful word coined to shut down protest at undesirable behaviour, a verbal battering ram getting through the cultural relativist idea that anything goes – no matter how detrimental it is to society.
On the subject of societal collapse, also on the list you find ‘swiping’ — the symptom of youth robbed of the confidence to go out and meet potential mates in more conventional venues, but paradoxically empowered to go out and fearlessly sleep with strangers they meet on dating app Tinder. The natural partner to the vapid explosion of online dating in the United Kingdom is yet another word on Collins’ list, ‘ghosting’, meaning to suddenly end all communication with someone you’re in a relationship with.
It seems depressingly inevitable that with instant gratification society relationships should so immediately be terminated as they were started, lacking even the perfunctory text message rejection that was until recently seen as the very height of bad manners.
Lastly you might consider what those hapless young men and women who have failed to find love do after being ghosted by their Tinder hook-ups. For our purposes the last word on Collins’ list — ‘Binge-watch’ — the act of slobbing out in front of the television, Collins’ word of the year.
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