Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, January 19, 2021

Recently, the American Dialect Society looked to the skies when picking its 2006 Word of the Year. The result was the selection of “plutoed” for the honor.


To “pluto” is “to demote or devalue someone or something” much like what happened to the former planet last year when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto did not meet its definition of a planet.

“Our members believe the great emotional reaction of the public to the demotion of Pluto shows the importance of Pluto as a name,” said society president Cleveland Evans. “We may no longer believe in the Roman god Pluto, but we still have a sense of personal connection with the former planet.”

Nice cover story. But I’m confused. Shouldn’t a “word of the year” be a word that, y’know, someone actually used??

Because I’m calling this out as a bullshit selection. I never once heard anyone, anywhere, utter “plutoed” in this manner. Even when the news about the ex-planet made the rounds and gave everyone a good laugh, I don’t recall ever coming across such a usage. And this is a hardcore media junkie here — I have no doubt that I’d have come across this term among all the print, online and broadcast filler I take in every month. And I didn’t.

For that matter, the other “contenders” mentioned ring hollow as well. “Climate canary” (a fragile/endangered organism as environmental benchmark) and “murse” (men’s purse) never existed either, as far as I’m concerned. “Flog” (fake blog) and “macaca” (former Senator George Allen’s waterloo moment) have some real-world grounding, at least; but I’d hardly describe them as noteworthy.

All in all, a pretty weak attempt by the ADS to manufacture buzz.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/19/2007 10:01:51 PM
Category: Science, Wordsmithing | Permalink | Feedback (21)

Inspired by the recent spurt of stadium naming rights deals in the New York metro area — namely, those for the forthcoming Citi Field (MLB Mets), Prudential Center (NHL Devils), and Barclays Center (NBA Nets) — Chris Isidore notes that the dollar amounts for slapping a corporate moniker onto those major-league barns is markedly higher these days:

According to trade publication Street & Smith’s Sports Business Weekly, 2006 was the most active year since 1999 for new naming-rights deals.

Several of the most expensive deals ever were signed in 2006 as well - with the $400 million, 20-year deal by Citigroup to name the New York Mets’ new baseball stadium Citi Field topping the list.

The average annual value for the 12 deals that were signed last year or first took effect in 2006 is $5.25 million, 61 percent above the average value of the new stadium rights deals from 1999.

That jack-up was helped along by the aforementioned New York deals. And pointedly, as I noticed a couple of months back, the Big Apple was overdue: Until now, none of the big-league sporting facilities hereabouts, except for Continental Airlines Arena, had been corporately-tagged. It was bound to happen eventually, and since we’re talking about the country’s No. 1 media market, the payoff is predictably huge. And, with a brand-new NFL stadium on the way for the Giants and Jets to share, the biggest jackpot is yet to come.

One thing that Isidore failed to bring up: The chief reason why the naming-rights prices are super-sizing is that they’re being applied to brand-spanking-new buildings. That’s key. Instead of slapping a new name onto an old building — that comes with an entrenched name and tradition that, sometimes, never gets completely supplanted — the naming-rights holder gets virgin territory. So there’s no chance of Prudential Center being referred to by its “old” name, because there is no old name for the stubborn voices to hang onto. That’s worth an extra couple hundred thousand per year, I figure.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/19/2007 09:29:16 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., SportsBiz, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (1)