A couple of weeks ago, columnist John Walsh of London’s The Independent penned a diatribe titled, Blog. Is there an uglier word in the entire history of our language? Actually, it seems, Walsh isn’t complaining about blogs as much as he is whining (or whingeing, as he might say) about the introduction of new words and phrases into the English language:

Neuromarketing. Identity theft. Psychogeography. Friendly bacteria. Corporate bonding. Flash mobbing. Spam. Jumping the shark. The world has become over-particularised to an alarming degree. New words and concepts crowd into our dictionaries; fancy-sounding, polysyllabic coinages sprout like daffodils in March. They come mostly from the worlds of business, media and technology, but here’s the funny thing – you and I and the couple at No 36 are expected to be familiar with them all. We might protest that we have no interest in Bluetooth because we fail to grasp its connection to both telephones and computers, and that, furthermore, we have no intention of finding out. But the chap at the party to whom you venture these Luddite cavils will shake his head sadly and say: “Sorry, mate, but you’re going to need to know all about it sooner or later.”

I’m not sure why neuromarketing heads Walsh’s list of egregious examples of words he doesn’t understand (or doesn’t want to understand), but, in the words of Irish playwright Brendan Behan, “All publicity is good, except an obituary notice.”

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