Sunday, January 10, 2010


According to Grant Barrett, my (not-so) secret celebrity crush, SNOMG is the word of the young winter of 2010. 2009's word was tweet, and SNOMG comes attached to a twitter hash tag -that insouciant, much-tattooed cousin of the dowdy old Library of Congress subject heading.

Hash tags let you sift through all the online chatter to hear about what you want to hear about and talk about what you want to talk about. And what we want to talk about, these days, is SNOMG. As in snow, oh my God. As in, holy crap, we're cold, and look at all this white stuff!

But seriously...snow? We're busy conducting more wars than I can keep track of, overhauling health care, and superheating the planet and all we can talk about is snow?! Well...duh. We're human. We're set up to operate on the level of the small and the immediate. It's both our Achilles heel and our saving grace. We especially like to compare notes. How much snow have you gotten? I've got six or seven inches sitting on top of my car right now. And check out that ice!

Contrast SNOMG with Wayne State's Word Warriors campaign. Wanna be a Word Warrior? Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is "to retrieve some of the English language's most expressive words from the dank closet of neglect." To make this more manageable, the Word Warriors have selected 15 antediluvian words with which you can festoon your New Year's bloviating.

(It appears I either live in, or frequently rummage through, the dank closet of neglect.)

I feel some sympathy for the Word Warriors. Why use three or four words to corral your meaning when you can tree that meaning with a single really good one? On the other hand, words aren't sheepdogs. And fighting for words that are disappearing seems both retrogressive and futile. So we're too quixotic to be unctuous. So we've been bamboozled out of our galoshes. So we no longer succumb to concupiscence every numinous dawn.

We can still be slimy in our rainboots. We can lust in the morning. And check out these icicles: SNOMG!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I too am already familiar with some of those words. Not sure whether to be proud or worried.