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Banned words cast pall over 2009 political chatter

Just in time to silence the chattering classes’ first articles of 2009, Lake Superior State University has published its annual list of banned words.

For years, the small Michigan university on the Canadian border has terrorized politicians and the media with its lists of clichés and instantly trite expressions. Here are some of this year’s forbidden terms:

Green. Well, OK, we use it too much, and it didn’t do Stephane Dion any good. But at least it’s shorter than, say, chlorophyllogenic.

Carbon footprint. Accepted. The Hook will henceforth refer to “carbon skidmarks ending at the brink of the cliff,” which is a less pedestrian metaphor.

Wall Street/Main Street. Accepted, but only if Jack Layton will shut up about “boardroom tables and kitchen tables.”

Bailout. Henceforth, this term should apply only to CEOs who bail out of their executive-suite windows without even a golden parachute.

Icon/iconic. These terms will be reserved in 2009 for depictions of saints. Those using them to describe celebrities or companies will be used as models for icons depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee, none of whose words are banned.

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