Sunday, June 24, 2007


McDonalds are upset that a new edition of a dictionary defines McJob as a dull, dreary poorly paid job with no prospects.
Another dictionary has defined some other new words – like Wag, ‘the wife of girl friend of a famous sportsman.’
McMansion is ‘a large modern house considered to look mass produced, lacking in distinguishing characteristics and at variance with established local architecture.’
A cankle is ‘the thickened area between the calf and ankle in an overweight person, obscuring where one ends and the other begins.’
But there are also a lot of other words which are not new but need to be redefined by dictionaries.
Take ‘challenge.’ This used to mean testing one’s powers and capabilities to the full. Now it often means a problem is so big that no one has any idea how to solve it.
An ‘internet entrepreneur’ is as likely to be an individual who is unemployed and/or unemployable as a real businessman or woman.
Astrologers are economists and weather forecasters who, like traditional stargazers, invariably get the signs and signals wrong.
Politician once meant a man or woman who represented the interests of their constituents. Today it can be somebody no one believes and regularly enjoys free lunches with lobbyists who need him to promote their interests.
Formerly a statesman was an individual who had distinguished himself in his country’s public life. Now he is more likely to be a politician who, having failed at home, embarks on a second career trying to tamper with global problems abroad.
Two of the most misleading words are ‘public relations,’ which are a euphemism for the notorious business of news manipulation, also known as spin.
Practitioners of this black art wear many masks and guises to protect their real identities and conceal what they are really up to – like spokesman, family friend, liaison officer. Their work includes ‘damage control,’ which means putting the best face on it when a client is in trouble and the odour of corruption, fraud, misdeeds and scandal hangs about him.
Originally a journalist was a seeker after truth, a member of the Fourth Estate and representative of the people in public life. Today he or she can often be a pawn or extension of the public relations industry and lover of the free gifts, lunches, travel and hospitality showered on them by the PR men and women to get favourable publicity.
Right now the most deceptive words in the English language are ‘amending treaty,’ the new name for the European constitution French and Dutch voters soundly rejected two years ago and is now being foisted on us – without giving us the chance to say no.
A great deal of predictable pooh-poohing about how dreadful it is has gushed from the lips of so-called experts in the wake of a report which claims that a lot of teenage girls want to be models so they can become rich and famous celebrities instead of doctors, nurses and teachers.
What no one has been honest enough to admit is that these girls are street smart and know that whatever they want in life, they are far more likely to succeed if they first get they first get fame and money.
Copyright © Rebecca Hamilton 2007. All Rights Reserved