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Pressing Issues

By Gina Channell Wilcox

E-mail Gina Channell Wilcox

About this blog: I am President of Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division and the publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, Dublin TriValley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express. As a 25-plus-year veteran of the media industry, I have experience...  (More)

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Uploaded: Dec 11, 2013
"Selfie" was named word of the year for 2013 and it is officially part of the Oxford dictionary.

Oxford defines the word as: "(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website."

According to the Oxford's editors, use of the word has gone up 17,000% in the past 12 months. And this was the percentage before President Obama's much discussed selfie at Nelson Mandela's memorial service earlier this week. The percentage is probably higher by now.

I'd guess the second runner-up for the word of the year for 2013 is "twerking," the dance (exhibition?) made famous (infamous?) by Miley Cyrus' performance (display?) at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Newspapers use the Associated Press Stylebook to maintain consistency among newspapers and wire services. That way stories could be transferred from one paper to another, or to the wire and to another newspaper, without a lot of editing. It is the Bible for newsrooms and the final authority when editors are arguing over whether "under way" is one word or two. (Yes, we do debate these things.)

With editors all over America asking if the form of dance known as "twerking" should have an uppercase or lowercase letter, the Associated Press now has a preferred style.

From www.apstylebook.com's Ask the Editor blog:
Q. "Twerk" -- I just wondered -- does the AP Stylebook already have or plan to add any information about using this urban term? Thank you! – from Louisa, Va. on Fri, Dec 06, 2013

A. AP stories already use twerk or twerking -- lowercase, no quotes -- with a brief description of the dance style recently popularized by singer Miley Cyrus.

So, back to our President taking a selfie at a funeral....Someone talking about it today on a local radio station called behaving in such a manner "tasteless." I thought to myself, that's stating the obvious.

And, speaking of words, what is the word for stating the obvious? I guess "duh" works, but that's old school. I was saying that way back in junior high.

So, let me propose two words. The first comes from my 21-year-old son, Josh. I ask him how he's doing, he replies, "meh." I ask how he likes (insert something tangible, intangible, good, bad or ugly here), and he says, "meh." It's a word that makes a statement without stating anything.

Then there is "narf," which is what Pinky from the cartoon "Pinky and the Brain" used to say when he had nothing else to say.

Whether you're tweeting, twerking, or taking a selfie, it's hard to keep up with new words and phrases In our fast-paced, tech-obsessed world.


What is it worth to you?


Posted by Deborah, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

Deborah is a registered user.

That was an enjoyable read! And it got me thinking that there is not yet a word out there that refers to a "selfie" with someone's own pet. I'm thinking maybe it could be called a "petsie" and that the Pleasanton Weekly could have a Petsie Contest (like the mother/daughter look alike photo contest it has each year during the Mothers Day issue of the paper). There's plenty of time to think about it!! National Pet Week 2014 does not start until May 10, 2014. The goals of National Pet Week are to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of the benefits of adopting a pet from an animal shelter.
I think it would get an overwhelming response. It could be free to enter, but you could charge $1/vote, with all proceeds going to Valley Humane Society. AND, it would be such a great opportunity for the Pleasanton Weekly to get a new word (petsie) into the Oxford Dictionary!!! I think it would catch on as quickly as "selfie".

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, a DanvilleSanRamon.com blogger,
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

I love the idea of "petsie" as a new word and a Petsie contest. I think I'm going to take a petsie with my pooch, Aria, for the example for the contest.
Thanks for the idea Deborah!!

Posted by Biff, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

There's an excellent description of the word 'meh' at Wikipedia. It includes possible origins as well as commonly agreed upon meaning:

Web Link

Once again, it shows that everything ever discussed in the world has been covered in an episode of the Simpsons.

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