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Monday, April 22, 2024

I feel misrepresented. I feel cheated. It's downright wrong.

While there are many injustices rearing their butt-ugly heads around the world, none are so infuriating as my current source of discontent.

Get this: The American Dialect Society chose "subprime," which is an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage or investment, as its word of 2007. I mean, come on. In the overused, usually exploitive and insensitive words of Dr. Phil, "What were you thinking?"

Out of all the words in the English language, the American Dialect Society found it fitting to select "subprime." Wow. What a boring bunch of linguists. As if the name, American Dialect Society, didn't already designate the group the wallflowers of language experts.

So why the word "subprime" anyway? Perhaps it's the impending economic crisis America is facing. Perhaps it's because we're obsessed with the fact that the value of our homes, places we've come to love, have little value anymore. We could soon be living in wastelands of foreclosures formerly known as neighborhoods. I guess that would be slightly worrisome and worth discussing. But, honestly, it's not worth the title "Word of the Year." The Bush administration admits we're seeing some hard times right now, and there may be a few more to come, but surely the administration can figure a way out of this rotting pickle. The administration has acknowledged the grim financial situation, but it's not speaking in terms of recession, despite, you know, logic, and the fact that "subprime" has been named the most important word of the year. Therefore, American Dialect Society, "subprime" isn't as important as you so-called English language devotees think.

But it's not like the runner-up words were any better. According to a recent CNN article, some of the alternatives were "Googleganger," the prefix "green-" and "Facebook." I would have preferred "Facebook" to "subprime". "Facebook" says Americans are Internet addicts and stalkers. At least that's interesting - and slightly creepy.

"Googleganger" is just a cool word in itself. If I were to guess, a "Googleganger" is a member of a gang of Google fanatics, like Stanley "Tookie" Williams was a member of the notorious Crips. Apparently I was wrong, and a "Googleganger" is actually the person who shows up when you Google yourself. Then you have the prefix "green-," which reflects America's love for the environment, despite the fact that we're helping melt the polar ice caps at an alarming pace.

But anything would have been better than "subprime." Perhaps more than reflecting our supposedly imminent economic crisis, "subprime" illuminates our greedy, money-hungry society, and the sad realization that we're truly in denial not only of all the other words but all other problems - at least the American Dialect Society is.

Obviously, I don't truly believe this is the gravest injustice of our time. There's more political corruption going around than pink eye in a kindergarten class. There's more innocent people dying every day than there are living. All the while, we stick our heads in the sand and declare the word "subprime" the "Word of the Year," a word that defines the year 2007.

Hopefully, the members of this language enthusiast organization don't reflect the interests of all Americans. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a year should be worth a heck of a lot more than one.

Stephanie Rosenberg is a junior majoring in journalism.

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