AP discourages use of ‘homophobia’

The Associated Press (one of my former employers) has updated its Stylebook to recommend against the use of terms such as homophobia and islamophobia, arguing that phobias are medically diagnosed and shouldn’t be used in political and social contexts. James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times explains in this column. An aside, I noticed on AP’s website that you can buy a Stylebook T-shirt. Eighteen bucks. Made by Hanes, it’s “tagless for comfort and preshrunk to minimize shrinkage.” Whew. “The color is light steel, what’s known in the Stylebook as gray.” (Not ‘grey’)

‘Eurogeddon’ and other Word of the Year losers

Second place intrigues me. Who finished second in Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories? See what I mean? Maybe “winning” is overrated. Let’s shine a spotlight on the runners-up. They must prepare for the top job in case newly crowned “Word of the Year” champions are somehow disgraced in 2013.

Eurogeddon gets my vote as the best silver medalist. In a eurogeddon situation, the collapse of one of the world’s major currencies guts my 401K wreaks havoc on world markets. Heavy stuff. Makes you want to duck and cover behind your country’s firewall.

Oxford American Dictionaries selected the verb GIF as its word of 2012, noting the popularity of GIFing, in which one creates a GIF file of an image or video sequence. The shortlist of contenders included eurogeddon, Super PAC, superstorm, nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile phone; it’s good but looks and sounds too much like homophobia), and YOLO (you only live once).

The Oxford UK version chose omnishambles, which describes “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations,” explained lexicographer Fiona McPherson. Eurogeddon was also shortlisted. Another good runner-up was Grexit, to describe Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone. Also on the table was mummy porn, a new genre of literature fueled by the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Not to be confused with “mommy” porn.

Dictionary.com chose bluster, in a nod to presidential politics, the never-ending euro crisis, and extreme weather such as Hurricane Sandy. (Can you name the second-worst Atlantic hurricane of the season? Isaac). Dictionary.com admitted that 2012 “has been lexicographically quiet. There were no Arab Springs or Occupies…” It did not disclose its shortlist. Bastards.