It’s the time of year for various “best of” and “worst of” lists, like the top movies, the biggest news stories, etc. Some annual itemizing is a little more obscure, such as the lists of overused words and phrases that should be retired, you know?
Toward that end we nominate the omnipresent “trending.” The online urban dictionary definition is quite correct: “Trending” is a mutilation of the English language that means “currently popular.” It derives from a sad misunderstanding of the verb “to trend” as meaning “to become a trend.”
It started with Twitter and now it’s everywhere. It’s very trendy. Add “meme” to the list and before you know it we’ll have binders full of “please stop saying that” requests, right? Let’s look at the headline fads:
•”A baby is trending and her name is Hashtag”: Gosh, thanks #mom and dad.
”NASA says world won’t end on Dec. 21”: The agency that sent men to the moon is now debunking “doomsday” rumors. Coming next: NASA overhears Santa trying to trade an elf and a reindeer to be named later for a GPS system with a lovely female British voice.
”GM is bringing Apple iPhone’s ‘Siri’ to the car”: “Siri, will there be weeping and gnashing of teeth?” Siri, clearly irritated: “I said the end of the road is trending, not The End.”
”Lindsay Lohan charged with more crimes”: While reviews of her new Lifetime movie “Liz &Dick” have been scathing, criminal charges seem a bit harsh.
”Port commissioner wants budget to include funds for own intern,” and the next day, “Port of Seattle delays action on adding interns to budget”: Port of Seattle Commissioner Rob Holland put off indefinitely a proposal to allow commissioners to hire graduate-level interns to act as their personal assistants after he admitted he got the entire idea from the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer hires a NYU student as his intern for his successful fake corporation, Kramerica Industries.
”Can a jellyfish unlock the secret of immortality?”: Take that, vampires.
”Postal chief lays out plan for agency survival”: Does it involve jellyfish?
”Original Batmobile from TV series for sale”: Noting the vehicle’s bubble-top and the phrase “caped crusaders,” the Vatican eagerly made the first bid to purchase the coolest Popemobile ever.
”China bans game show as too ‘wanton’”: The show “Bang Bang Bang” was deemed too vulgar for the airwaves and criticized for its “wanton acts” and “amplifying ugliness.” Chinese officials clearly don’t understand the concept of “game shows” if they are worried about vulgarity. But they make banning stuff fun when they resurrect little-used words like “wanton.”
Just think of the domino-theory chaos and vulgarity a wanton Chinese hacker could wreak by unleashing episodes of the “Gong Show” all over the internet.
This just in: Monday is trending today.