September 21, 2004
The New Newspeak

For those who care to remember, HBO's Not Necessarily the News was a kind of embryonic Daily Show with John Stewart, offering its own “skewed' take on Nancy Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Noid. While the show appears horribly dated from here, one segment is apparently timeless - Rich Hall's Sniglets, in which ordinary people (i.e. just like you and me) invented words that don't appear in the dictionary but should. Mostly this amounts to amusing portmanteaus that concern the refrigerator lightbulb or frayed shoelaces.

But leave it to the original cats from McSweeney's to find a whole new application for Sniglets. It's called The Future Dictionary of America (not to be confused with Faith Popcorn's incisive Dictionary of the Future) in which cute, non-threatening writers like Jonathan Safran Foer and Sarah Vowell present new vocabulary words for the dystopic future that awaits us all.

See if you can distinguish between the Sniglets and the works of capital L Literature. (Answers below.)

Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Idiolocator: the symbol on a mall or amusement park map representing "You Are Here"

Giraffiti: vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Fictate: to inform a television or screen character of impending danger under the assumption they can hear you.

Zzzunday: national holiday occurring once every 28 years, when a Leap Year coincides with a Sunday.

Jukejitters: fear that everyone thinks that you picked the awful tune emanating from the jukebox when it was actually the person before you.

Gertatious: having the adolescent fear that hanging one's arm over the bed at night will mean being dragged under.

Answer Key: Except for Zzzunday, they're all Sniglets - I'm not about to shell out 28 bucks for a fake fucking dictionary.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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