Friday, January 25, 2008

CARPing for a Cause

Way back in the early 1980s, when the English language was falling victim to techno-speak, I shared a delightful harangue with my friend Pam, who also cared about language. I still remember her sardonic quip back then, delivered with some resignation: "In America nowadays, you can verb anything."

Nowadays, not only can we "verb" anything, but we also seem to "acronym" everything. [And since when did "to acronym" become an infinitive?? Don't even ask me!] I have seen many associations change their names, simply so that a perfectly descriptive name could become an acronym.

As I drive home each evening, I pass by the major conference hotel in our little capitol city. One day this week, I noticed the hotel marquee announcing its welcome:

Welcome
MO Christians Against
Racism & Poverty

Living as I do in the 21st century, something in my brain immediately translated that group's name into its acronym: MO-CARP.

How very unfortunate.

Mind you, I'm totally supportive of a Christian organization combating racism and poverty! And I am especially glad they didn't come up with a name that would have transposed the "R" and "A." Thank God for small favors. Better MO-CARP than MO-CRAP.

Such is life in the 21st century.

5 Comments:

Blogger Caminante said...

The French are the champion acronym creators, though I think El Salvador comes in a close second.

1/26/2008 4:12 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Bill Watterson, in a Calvin and Hobbes strip, observed, "Verbing weirds language."

1/26/2008 8:38 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

I once produced a government agency annual report where the only acronym was "4-H." I let it stand because, in this one case, de-acronymation" would have rendered it incomprehensible.

I was known there as "the slayer of acronyms."

1/27/2008 10:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, y'all. Malcolm+, so far you win as the slayer of acronyms!

1/29/2008 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's that whiskered fish in the Missouri river.

NancyP

1/29/2008 2:43 PM  

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