Parker: Words that weren’t banned and those that should be

The recent excitement over an incredible story about the government trying to ban certain words reminded me of all the words and phrases I despise and wish were banned.

For the sake of getting on with it, briefly: The Washington Post reported Friday that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been forbidden from using seven words as they prepared their 2019 budget documents. The words were: vulnerable, diversity, entitlement, fetus, transgender, science-based and evidence-based.

Everybody went bonkers on cue.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald went straight to Twitter, writing: “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.”

One could call this either, “Oh, my God, they’re trying to ban words!” Or, you could call it common sense. I’m not sure which is more discomfiting, however: CDC guys worried that “science-based” would so frighten Republicans that they’d kill their budget, or, that this could possibly be true.

So that happened.

Obviously, the government shouldn’t ban words, but there’s no reason a columnist, who gets to be queen for about 750 words, can’t take a stab. In a gesture of democratic pandering, I even enlisted the help of my kingdom of Facebook “friends.” Because they were self-selecting, this survey should not be construed as “science-based.”

But the evidence suggests that my friends are a peevish lot when it comes to mis- or over-used words, which makes me like them even more. My own personal list, the phrasing of which is rhythmically pleasing if obviously redundant, begins with nouns that have been “re-purposed” as verbs.

When a friend recently said to me that she hadn’t been “gifted” in a long while, I thought (to myself), “So I see.” Then, “lo and behold,” (a phrase that will be allowed at Christmastime), I was informed by a linguist that “to gift” has been a verb since 1550. He noted, however, that he would have interpreted my friend’s statement as meaning that she hadn’t been given (as a gift) in a while. That, too, I’m sure.

To put it bluntly, “awesome” isn’t anymore. “Snowflake” produces more ennui than insult. “Pivot,” “veritable,’ “in reality,” and “best practices” wear us down. As do: “reach out,” “share” and “think outside the box.” “Own” it, if you must, but I’d sell it on eBay. Just sayin’.

“Breaking news” IS news. It’s devastated, not “decimated.” You don’t “effort,” for heaven’s sake. You make an effort. Or, maybe just try. Which apparently is a thing. No problem? You’re welcome. And I take back my thank you.

Literally, where is all this “low-hanging fruit,” if you don’t mind my asking. And, no, you’re not recording me “for quality and training purposes.” You’re collecting profane diatribes to read at the company holiday party. Nice try. Or just, “nice.” Sick. Stop it.

We’re not going to “unpack” anything, unless you’re my valet, or “drill down,” unless you’re the plumber. We’re sick of optics, mansplainin’, onboarding and THIS, as in “what she said.” We’ve had it with closure and ideating, as well as doubling down on the whole nine yards. No one is “woke.”

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the fact of the matter is we were all vulnerable as fetuses, some of whom were surely bound to become transgender because evidence-based diversity is what it is.

But, no worries. It’s all good. Believe me. Bigly.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Letters: Story of student, bereft family inspires

Story of student, bereft family inspires I read your paper every day and I want to commend you for publishing a wonderful article, “A FAMU bond and an unforgettable act of kindness” (Monday). It was a poignant story of an unfortunate young woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jamahri Sydnor was about to start her...
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

POINT OF VIEW: Love in classroom essential to transformational growth

When I taught in public schools, I was once asked why my students tended to perform so well on standardized tests. The answer was obvious to me — with the help of love in the classroom. I showed my students love every day, and I used that love to motivate and relate to them. Sign up for The Palm Beach Post weekly Opinion newsletter:
Opinion: The blindness of social wealth

Bob Hall was a rancher. In 1936, in the midst of the Depression, he was suffering from a cancer that was eating the flesh on the side of his face. His ranch had dwindled to nearly nothing, and weeks after bankers took the last of his livestock, Hall died, leaving his family deeply in debt. His sons pleaded with anybody they could find to make a loan...
Opinion: Nikki Haley’s SOS to the nation

WASHINGTON — “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” These eight words from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will go down as among the most powerful indictments of the rancid governing culture President Trump has fostered. They may also shed light on one of the great mysteries of the moment: Why...
More Stories