Tuesday 4 August 2020

Buzzwords of 2020: the First Six Months

Will the next six months be this interesting?

Children should learn proper handwriting because it boosts creativity and [insert reasons here, none of which are “so that they can get a job as a Dickensian clerk just as if typewriters and photocopiers never happened”].

“All white people believe in race science and phrenology.”

Broadsheets recommend “doing nothing”. Suspect what they mean is “stop typing on your computer and hand-whittle a wooden spoon” as usual.

A “right-wing conservative” is now “someone who alleges that Corbyn and the Labour Party are anti-Semitic”. (Late Dec 2019)

“I only get the Mail for the TV guide/crossword/sports section/fashion/ gossip/health...”

Any group you disagree with is a “cult”. (Except that some of them are.)

Children should be bored, it’s good for them.

Vegan” now stands for “metropolitan liberal elite avocado-munching snowflake”.

now means “Marxist plot invented in the 30s that sees everything through a particular moral lens”.

Storm Ciara early Feb. Much “wind not windy enough” and “My garden chairs have blown over.”

We should stop buying things and start making them. (Probably means “stop buying those awful tablets and smartphones and expensive children's toys” rather than “stop buying food and clothes”.)

When did lowdown become “downlow”?

Woke” now means “hiring black people”, especially to positions of power.

Clothes and shoes are described as vintage, medieval, Civil War, Titanic-era or Gibson Girl era. (The “medieval” shoes looked like a stash of 70s shoes inspired by the 40s.)

Competitive meanness over Valentine’s Day: “I reuse a Tesco value card”, “I bought some heart-shaped crumpets at Asda but they were on sale”.

Lot of “energy” around today – what year is this, 1975?

High and low decoupling (Something to do with the Sabisky row.)

Optics: What something will look like to the outside world; the perception a public-relations person would have on something. (Urban Dictionary – not for those of a nervous disposition.)

Curate now means “source”, and “source” means “find”. But “curate” indicates that you might add value by supplying photos of you or a model in the dress, the object in a home setting etc etc.

People are using the word “floodgate” in its literal sense again.

And they’re all wearing Bluetooth headphones like earrings.

Bright yellow is this season’s colour.

Middle-class people slightly huffy over hand-washing instructions. Hand sanitiser? What happened to good old soap? Etc.

Hints that coronavirus will thin out the population, relieving us of the old and sick. Polish politician says pogroms were “good for” the Jews, assisting natural selection. Others claim that food shortages post-Brexit will help Brits lose weight (and thin out the population as before).

People are “panicking” about the pandemic, and they shouldn’t. We plan ahead, you stockpile, they panic buy.

“Jokes” about hairdressers and dentists performing with long-handled tongs. Bumping elbows is the new handshake.

Middle-class people overwhelmed by the stress of working from home and shopping at the corner shop because all the supermarket delivery slots are taken. Situation still genuinely grim.

Too many people taking the opportunity to insult the “fat, drooling morons” who shop in supermarkets.

“Corvid-19” sounds more appealing. Caw!

Doom-mongering ascribed to “My friend Bob, a bioscientist” or “my brother, who’s an expert in epidemiology” being retweeted and shared.

"Other people are buying all the loopaper," says person buying loopaper.

The middle classes admit they are taking sensible precautions, but “I’m not going over the top”. Meanwhile conservative Americans won’t be told what to do.

Supermarket shelves emptying as people buy ingredients for cooking.

Middle-class Brits rediscover “keeping themselves to themselves”, avoiding “the wrong kind of people”, and “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. Others are going for long walks around their local side streets, like explorers looking for the source of the Amazon.

Staff at a Chinese takeaway assaulted by youths. “What have we become?

Racist shoplifters called “rancid thugs”.

“Whatever I’ve got, it’s not coronavirus.”

Some Brits thinking staying at home is “giving in” to the virus.

People are writing COVID-19 poetry hoping that when it's all over we'll have learned to appreciate peace, quiet, nature and our families.

Second homes are colonialism” as second-home owners flock to their “bolt-holes”, bringing the virus with them and straining local food supplies. Or is this just a rumour?

"Isn’t the city/country calm and peaceful without all those other people?"

Middle-class couples are posting pictures of the posh food they've cooked.

What is this “Zoom” everybody is talking about?

Where did "furlough", "level with you" and "ramp up" all come from? (and can they go away?)
(@Pseudo_Isidore. Per NGram, “furlough” peaked in British English in 1912, and “ramp up” is in the Cambridge English Dictionary.)

Now that police have been given powers to ask if your journey is really necessary, people are moaning that they’re “over-zealous”.

“I use FB/Twitter but despise Twitter/FB” is still going strong. Also “My Mum doesn’t have Facebook.”

Now people are moaning that Zoom isn’t secure.

Keir Starmer is “too metropolitan” to appeal to renegade Labour voters in the “red wall”. (It means “not racist enough”.)

Isn’t education much more effective without all this testing!

To cheer everybody up, here's a picture of a fan vault.

Reporting on others breaking the rules is “how communism starts”.

Most planes are grounded, but there’s none of the usual whingeing about “chaos”.

Depressingly, middle-class people in lockdown are rejoicing that they can drink all day.

What happened to "the British will never stand for an Italy-style lockdown"?

It’s 2020 and people are communicating through notices in windows and chalked messages on pavements – and playing hopscotch.

Police powers to break up groups mean we are “living in a police state”.

The post-virus future is going to be a Messianic age.

Dettol is having to warn the public not to drink or inject its product, after the President of the United States recommended these actions to protect against coronavirus.

Tory Twitter moaning that Keir Starmer isn’t working-class enough, pointing out that Nye Bevan went down the pit aged 10. And the Speaker doesn’t call him Sir! It’s a conspiracy! (Such a shame we don’t send children down mines any more. Where are we to get our Labour leaders now?)

We take time off from worrying about the epidemic to moan that people are commemorating VE Day in the wrong way. All these plastic flags and singalongs – they’re so naff! The UK divided by class as usual.

Tomatisation: domestication of an exotic vegetable all the way from thinking it’s poisonous to buying it chopped in tins. Can be applied metaphorically to any phenomenon.

“We must get people back to work and end economic genocide.” (Ian O’Doherty. There are some words that should never be used metaphorically.)

Keir Starmer is “forensic”.

Guy on Twitter saying he won’t watch Sewing Bee any more because “the BBC has an agenda”. He means “too many brown people”. Searching Twitter for “BBC diversity agenda” is a depressing exercise.

When the lockdown began, Italians told us “Soon you will all know someone who’s ill, and know someone who has lost someone.” They were right. (May 17 2020)

The way mask usage morphed from "masks don't work" to "you're selfish if you don't have one" is really incredible. Any trace of how much pro-mask usage was an outlier position in the early phases of the crisis is eroding. (@Aelkus)

Middle-class Twitter enjoys slagging off “McMorons” as they queue at recently reopened Macdonalds drive-thrus.

Latest fashionable food ingredient: banana flowers. (Dandelion flowers are also edible, say some.)

Italy’s Museums Reopen with Vibrating Social-Distancing Necklaces, Limited Admission (smithsonianmag.com)

Family who drove 90 minutes to Dorset beach during lockdown complain about others doing the same. Jane Doe was surprised how many people were on the beach: "I find that quite annoying to be honest, it's like being in Tesco." (@imajsaclaimant)

Those complaining about Dominic Cummings’ trips to Durham are “just curtain-twitchers”. (Most people are outraged at his behaviour and Boris’s response.)

Kids don’t know how to use a landline – hilarious!

Buzz Words from Twitter
Ticks all the boxes
Pivot, impacted, win win, coast to coast to coast
Redonkulous, problematic, aspiration, con call, not a good fit
“Let’s parking lot that.”
“I know, right?”
“How good is that?”
As I understand it...
Inferencing, conferencing, referencing

NZ Covid bingo: waiting room, bubble, “Again, as I said...”, highest testing rates, new normal, “That’s not right!”, lock in the gains, burning embers, cautiously optimistic, yo-yoing between levels, gold standard, “What I can say is...”, be kind, hard and early, jeprodize, stay the course, do it safely, no-one wants a second wave

Middle-class Brits discover that it’s actually rather nice being at home with your family.

In the US, bare-faced Trump supporters abuse mask-wearing Democrat voters.

Rules or guidelines?

Rioters in Minneapolis aren’t protesting about the murder of George Floyd by the police – they just want an excuse to loot!

"A friend of mine who is an officer in Minneapolis said Soros flew in paid agitators to cause chaos."
After forest and heath fires, there’s a call for a ban on the sale of portable barbecues.

Tensions” used to mean racial hatred as America burns, June 2020. (They are being “stoked” as usual, when they’re not being “defused”.)

People telling each other about “petrichor” as if they were the first to discover it. It's a good thing the smell of snow doesn't have a pretty Greek name.

Upsides to lockdown: wildlife flourishes and we have time to notice it. People figure out how to work from home and buy houses in the country. Could this be the end of hot-desking?

The move from “set foot on” to “step foot on” is irreversible.

Black Lives Matter protests? They’re vilifying the entire UK police force!

Well-intentioned white Americans in monocultural areas talk seriously about “educating” themselves about the plight of black US citizens. Better late than never? Meanwhile some moan that they are being demonised for having white skin.

Some old white men are slightly more subtle and feign great puzzlement at what “taking a knee” might mean.

White people moan that liberals are making them feel guilty.

Others complain that official statements are “using the passive voice” when they don’t put their hands up and admit guilt. “Let us not pretend that these circumstances are the result of some immutable, passive-voice, unchangeable reality.” Facebook poster explains that finding yourself in a mono-ethnic society is the product of choice, not fate.

Statues are literally being toppled and some are shocked at the destruction of private property.

It's 2020 and we're in the middle of a pandemic and we are assessing the meaning of public statues  – well, no time like the present.

People reacting as if nobody ever toppled a statue before. (Where are all those statues of Hitler, Lenin and Stalin? Not many statues of Queen Victoria in India or Ireland.)

Angry old white men say “Criminal damage! I suppose you’re going to pull down Nelson’s column now!”

An ideologically driven mob should not dictate what we see or read! (Bristol states its intention to retrieve the statue and put it in a museum.)

Q: Why did people pull down a statue in BRISTOL when cops murdered a black man in AMERICA?
A: No man is an island.

How long before anybody says “George Soros” about anything? (Funding the Black Lives Matter protests, of course.)

Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips standing up for Black Lives Matter.

Lots of people tweeting “If you don’t like democracy, go somewhere else!

Esports: competitive gaming at a professional level.

Body shop brings out a red bag printed with IT’S BLOODY NATURAL. (It’s period-positive).

“Duper’s delight” is a thing. I love psychologists.

Rats are running up to people and begging for food. (Thanks to lack of fast food debris. Allegedly.)

One of the most articulate, intelligent and passionate speakers against racism and Brexit to emerge in these dark times is... genial antiques expert Mark Stacey.

Where did all these chickens come from and how can I get them to stop roosting? (@dennismhogan)

Instant takes on the black man who carried an injured white supremacist out of a stampede. Mainly about other people’s takes.

"Counter-protesters" have left offerings at the boarded-up statue of Churchill. Unopened Jaffa cakes and mini-rolls.

Government U-turns over free school meals over the summer holidays after 22-year-old footballer Marcus Rashford campaigns.

Repellent pond slime moan about “my tax dollars” going on free school meals over the summer.

Children do not need a free school meal – despite what a 22 year old footballer says. Studies prove mild starvation to be benificial for children, encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour and problem solving – but this doesn’t matter to the woke Taliban. (Brendan O’Neill on Spiked. Perhaps they can’t get any sub editors to work for them.)

Everyone’s an armchair epidemiologist. Angry old white men can’t understand why they aren’t in charge of social distancing rules. They are also furious that the rules apply to them as well as to everybody else.

China and India fight over a border.

Meanwhile the French wrangle over whether it’s le or la Covid 19, and the Académie puts in its two cents.

In the 70s everything was a “centre”. Now “hub”?

Some Twitter users are making Vera Lynn’s death about “woke lefties” – it’s the connection with the war.

A surprising number of quite separate clothes manufacturers are advertising on Facebook that the crisis has forced them to close down their artisanal workshops producing linen sack dresses, hippy goblin outfits and steampunk leggings. “We are sorry that our handmade workshop failed to survive this disaster. We decided to sell to the last batch of customers at a 75% discount. People who like tribal style can choose your favourite products!”

Angry old white men defend racism under the banner of “free speech”, again.

Denaming (UCLS denames buildings named after eugenicists.)

edgelord: "Someone who tries to appear edgy by doing or saying risque or offensive things." (Urban Dictionary)

Rubbish left on beaches and in fields is awful – but do we have to call those responsible “f***ing scum”?

@ukblm is now broadcasting anti-Semitic tropes.

York Minster denies it plans to remove the statue of a Roman emperor from its precinct.

At least people have stopped moaning about straws!

Fake Twitter accounts are all “political analysts” now – no more “bacon aficionados”.

Upsides to lockdown: they can’t go on telling disabled students that distance learning is impossible, or tick off women for wearing face veils.

Cancel culture: means not wanting right-wing speakers at universities, as usual.

Comments to protesters replacing all Parliament Square road signs with “green recovery”: Won’t the confused motorists emit extra fumes? Criminal damage, where are the police? Sanctimonious stunts just put off those who might support their cause. Altering signs is Orwellian. Vandalism. “All they are doing is driving away ordinary folk who would have some sympathy for their cause.” Nonsense. Anarchy. Where’s Khan – on his bike? Dense. How does this help climate change? Has rule of law broken down? Weirdos. Professional agitators. Best way to lose support. Why do Londoners put up with this crap? Ludicrous. Schoolboy prank. Grow up! Eco loons. Pointless.

What people call "cancel culture" often is just consequences for someone's words/actions. (Ole Andreas Imsen)

"Gender dysphoria" or just "dysphoria" now means "unhappy with the role society expects you to play". “I put the problem inside myself, when actually it is with how the outside world sees women who don’t conform to feminine norms,” says a detransitioner. (Thetimes.co.uk)

Coincidentally, corvids have many fans.

“Forcing people to wear face masks isn't the business of Conservatives: We are not an authoritarian party.” (@EdwardLeighMP. Everyone's accusing everyone else of being "authoritarian".)

Illusion bakes have taken over the internet.”

Is there a connection between conservative politics and liking Star Wars and Renaissance or Medieval Fayres?

Apparently there is “no evidence for systemic racism” in the US.

Young woman MP says in parliament that we shouldn’t even discuss whether transwomen are women because to do so would be to fetishize debate. (Nadia Whittome)

People who can’t wear masks getting worried about the abuse they might encounter.

Conservatives convinced they must “stand up to” the “woke mob”.

“Gender” being used to mean “personality”, or as someone points out, “soul”. “Something innate, but unobservable which can’t be diagnosed, defined, or seen, but people swear that it exists while refusing to define it.” (@Anthony_Potts)

Immigrants being blamed for spreading COVID by living nine to a room and not speaking English (so they can’t read the rules).

“Where am I on the asexuality spectrum?”

underwater basket weaving: in the US, means “pointless dumbed-down college course”

Social scientists say that a minority group may be in the majority. I despair.

seems to be American for “ploughman’s lunch”. Someone points out that paté is just cold meatloaf, and you're really eating a deconstructed sandwich.

Buzzwords for 2019, 2018 etc.

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