In Which I Get Bored and Read the Montana Newspaper, Which Proves a Delightful Diversion

While idly perusing the Billings paper during my lunch hour last night, I happened upon the following piece. I couldn’t stop laughing while reading it. Maybe it’s because I studied English and have a thing for words, but this is just brilliant (particularly the quotes). It’s an AP story out of Detroit, and I’m going to share the entirety of it here, for your enjoyment:

It’s official: Viral went viral, and now it’s been virtually vaporized.

Michigan’s Lake Superior State University [AN: Four years of living in Michigan and I never once heard of that school…] features the term linked to popular online video clips in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. The 2011 list, compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across North America throughout the year, was released Friday.

Nominators did more than vanquish “viral.” They also repudiated Sarah Palin’s “repudiate,” flunked “fail” and weren’t at all wowed by “wow factor.”

The call to banish viral was vociferous, garnering more nominations than any other.

“This linguistic disease of a term must be quarantined,” Kuahmel Allah of Los Angeles wrote in his submission. “If one more thing goes viral, I’m buying a Hazmat suit and moving into a clean-room.”

Lake Superior State spokesman Tom Pink said viral’s death spiral mirrors the trajectory of the typical YouTube clip that becomes a momentary sensation and thus goes viral.

“It starts out small, then grows and people get sick of it because they start hearing it everywhere,” Pink said.

He said it’s among the few entries on the list sentenced to the dialectical dungeon that “have to do with the way we communicate these days.” Another: Facebook or Google used as a verb.

Other entries showed people’s apparent aversion to simple language, hence the call to “live life to the fullest” when they could just live, promoting every foible or stumble to “fail,” or super-sizing every reasonably good time to an “epic” event.

“Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed,” said Mike of Kettering, Ohio, whose submission came with no last name.

Appropriately, Pink stopped short of describing this year’s batch of submissions as “epic.” Rather, he viewed it as solid and typical- based on more than 1,000 nominations, once he and his colleagues sorted out phrased previously banned in the list’s 36-year history.

For all the words coming in for a “shellacking,” he was surprised President Barack Obama’s endlessly dissected term to describe his party’s performance in November’s midterm elections didn’t merit one vote.

Still, Washington-speak made an appearance. Several American people vetoed the phrase “The American people.”

“No one in Washington can pontificate for more than two sentences without using it,” wrote Dick Hilker of Loveland, Colo. “Beyond overuse, these people imply that ‘The American people’ want/expect/demand all the same things. They don’t.”

Not all phrases must go viral to be reviled. “I’m just sayin'” festered for a while in the lexicon before coming up for banishment this year.

“Obviously you are saying it- you just said it!” wrote Catherine Wilson of Granger, Ind.

Of course, the fun didn’t stop there, galleons. After chuckling my way through the previous, another tiny snippet caught my eye. Behold, yet another example of sheer stupidity, coming to us from New Haven, CT:

A Connecticut smoker who won $8 million against a tobacco company in May, the first such jury award in New England, has been awarded $4 million in punitive damages and stands to get millions more in interest.

Barbara Izzarelli, a Norwich resident who developed larynx cancer, won the jury award against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. after a two-week trial, but the Bridgeport panel left the amount of punitive damages up to the judge.

Judge Stefan Underhill on Thursday ordered punitive damages of $3.97 million, bringing Izzarelli’s total award to nearly $12 million. The punitive damages will cover attorney fees and other legal costs.

Really? You got cancer from smoking? Sweet jeebus, say it isn’t so!

It says a lot about our justice system that a case this fucking ridiculous can come down in favor of the plaintiff.

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