Words have power, which is why politicians and pundits are coining new phrases and words all the time. Creative Politics means creative language, too–let’s make ours better.
1/100 — A one percenter who hasn’t forgotten the role the rest of us and his country have played in his success, is fully aware of his good fortune, and remains on the side of the people.
44.46 — Trump’s presidential number. Many consider him the 46th president, many others do not consider him president at all, so we’ve proposed a compromise–0.46, or 46%, is the percentage of all votes he received. Had he received more than his opponent, there would be no need to compromise at all, but he didn’t. Some also speculate that 44.46 C is the coldest temperature in his native habitat, which is why he’s done everything he can to increase global warming.
accipiterine (adj) — An eagerness to put others in harm’s way that’s disproportionate to one’s interest in doing likewise, or in having one’s own progeny do so (cf. accipiter, the genus of raptors colloquially known as “chicken hawks”)
allegendary (adj) — an infamous, nefarious act that never occurred, coupled with a belief in its occurence that cannot be extinguished no matter how times it’s debunked–in fact, it only grows in scope over time (cf allegedly + legendary), e.g. Hillary Clinton arranging for the murder of Vince Foster or Seth Rich, Hillary orchestrating the handover of our domestic uranium assets to the Russians, Hillary selling State Department appointments, Hillary using her email server to disseminate state secrets, Hillary laughing (oh that laugh) at getting a rapist off without punishment, etc.
aluminum — a foil that reflects well on its supposed antagonist, e.g. Alan Colmes on Holmes & Hannity; Jim Acosta in White House press briefings; Sam Donaldson on This Week (for those with long memories); Joe Lieberman in his debate with Dick Cheney, in fact most Democrats in high profile debates; less than ineffectual.
ameregrants — birthright citizens who have already left our shores in their minds, just in need of a one-way ticket to Moscow, Warsaw, or Budapest to complete their journey. Not to be confused with immigrants, who have a much better understanding of and belief in our history, values (and work ethic).
american (adj), americanize (v) — to comfortably hold multiple contradictory, even mutually exclusive, ideas in one’s head, pulling them out pragmatically as needed to address the problem at hand (what used to drive the rest of the world crazy about us); similarly, an unusual level of comfort with a diversity of views and cultures in the public square (obs.?).
anchor baby — someone who is childishly stuck in and rooted to the past, lacking the mature understanding of what our country is (and always has been) to accept/support where we can and should go next. 2. A native-born American incapable of passing the citizenship test given to immigrants.
animystic (n) — someone who draws on all points of view and respects the essential mystery of life, cf. animism (which holds that all living things –and sometimes non-living entities, too–have souls) and mysticism. animystisize (v), animystically (adv)
apocapleptic, apocaleptic — the particular flavor and flame of rage one feels every time one encounters another mile marker on what seems to be a one-way road to perdition because nobody is doing a damn thing to stop it (fr. apocalypse + apoplectic)
app-dropping — akin to name-dropping, but arguably more pathetic; when someone gratuitously references the website or application they used to learn something or address an issue, in an apparent effort to seem cool or ‘with it.’
arachnoid (adj) — spider-like, but inauthentic, as in a tangled web.
armstrong — a problem arising that’s difficult to solve because it’s embedded in the origins of the policy, program, project, or product, cf the famous Neil Armstrong quote: “”If you’re an inch off on landing, no big deal. If you’re an inch off on takeoff, you miss the moon by a million miles.”
at, bt — if we currently mark eras by the birth of Christ, shouldn’t we give the ascension of the Antichrist in 2016 the same distinction, even as we do everything we can, including pray, that, at worse, at = bt?
aunt janes — as in uncle toms, and janus, the two-faced god; gender traitors or handmaids-in-waiting who would rather serve men and enjoy race privilege, even in 21st century America, than stick up for their fellow women. Used in a sentence: “Women would rule the world if it weren’t for the aunt janes stabbing other women in the back all the time.”
away-gamer — someone who thrives on criticism, who hungers to know all the problems with their ideas and beliefs, indeed, often can’t act or be at their best without it (cf. athletes who play best in front of hostile crowds)
backpfeifengesicht (n) — German word that means “a face that needs to be punched.” First use in American political discourse is believed to have occured in February 2017.
barkalounger — someone who holds forth (often insufferably) from his tv chair, frequently shouting at the screen, instead of getting off his haunches and actually doing something productive about what’s upsetting him, or one who exhibits like behavior in other contexts.
bear’s law, law of the bear — any situation or circumstance you don’t have to understand, as long as you understand it better than those around you, i.e. you are the one-eyed man.
billy preston problem — i.e. “nothing from nothing leaves nothing,” originally an online community term of art to emphasize the necessity of seeding communities with participants and content, not just building them and they will come; more broadly, the necessity to start somewhere, rather than accept the ‘perfection or die’ ethos of the extremists on either side.
blackbottomless (adj) — a reflection of the truism that no matter how bad a white person thinks racism is, it’s always worse. Finding out the difference in household net worth between blacks and whites in Boston, or that Facebook’s algorithms discriminate even when programmed not to, are good examples of “servings of blackbottomless pie.”
bohrian — a person or phenomenon that exemplifies both a trait and its opposite, the more traits of which this can be said, the more bohrian the individual or movement, cf the great 20th century physicist Neils Bohr, who developed the concept of complementarity to explain how/why light has the properties of both a wave and a particle. Generally a positive attribute; after all, as Bohr himself said: “the opposite of a great truth is another great truth”
boulanger’s axiom — the greatest creative freedom is found within boundaries, from the great 20th century French music teacher Nadia Boulanger.
brontosaur (v) — to provide analysis that’s breathtakingly insipid, timid, obvious, or banal (cf Monty Python’s ‘Anne Elk’ sketch), typically anachronistic as well, at least in the current cycle (like the brontosaurus name was justly regarded, though that’s no longer the case for now)
bst — blood, sweat, and tears
bt — short for botulinum toxin, the most toxic excretion known to mankind; used when BS doesn’t do justice to the magnitude of the lies involved or the harm that they’re causing.
cathart (v) — to say or do something that provokes widespread outrage, with the intent and result that the energy thus expended weakens resistance to the outrageous (cf. cathartic, catharsis)
capapie (adv) — not a new word (16th century, actually), included because we like it and don’t want you leaving our site to look it up. It means “head to toe,” btw…
champagnist (n) — a wealthy faux populist, who, typically drunk on power, pretends to represent and speak for the forgotten masses, even as his policy choices disproportionately benefit his own social class. Let them drink champagne. Not to be confused with limosine liberal, an IDED tossed at 1/100s who actually are dedicated to helping lift up others, perjoratively positing that any such effort is hypocritical unless it includes complete divestiture (as a convenient punishment for class traitorhood).
chasmic (adj) — the inverse of cosmic; a view of what lies ahead that inspires dread instead of wonder; cf. chasm.
chutzpocrisy — contraction/shorthand for ‘the height of,’ ‘breathtaking’, ‘the definition of chutzpah’ and other clicheed modifiers used to describe acts and statements of hypocrisy so brazen that the ordinary word seems inadequate. Example: engaging in more illegal and questionable activity than any president or administration in history, then complaining about being the most investigated. Hyperchutzocrisy is coming soon.
chutzpocracy — a form of government marked by brazen disregard for truth, honesty, integrity, norms, and values, particularly those of the people who made the government possible with their votes, their service, their sacrifice, the sweat of their brows, and yes, their money. Key diagnostic: when the vehemence of any statement made is inversely related to the extent to which it’s true.
cliche — something so true it’s boring, like this definition.
collusion — a conspiracy in which parties take actions clearly informed by and in response to each other, but without the explicit written agreement necessary to charge them criminally for it.
common sense — formerly described something real, important, and quintessentially American, especially to conservatives. Now just a just-so story pulled out of someone’s derriere to paper over or explain things that defy simplistic, reductionist explanation.
condultants, condulltants — political consultants still running 20th century campaigns, spending vast sums on television ads, for example, (for a condultant, TV ads are the answer to everything, like tax cuts are for Republicans, because they get a substantial taste of every ad buy), and viewing the Internet’s sole purpose as grassroots fundraising to pay for them. Not to be confused with insultants, whose modus is to tell clients that whatever they’re doing is all wrong, though there are plenty of those in the condultant class as well.
constitutional republic — a form of government in which the people rule via elected representatives, specifically enumerated minority rights are protected from majority rule, all citizens’ votes have equal weight, and those who get the most votes for the offices they’re competing for win election. May be falsely used as a justification for minority rule in countries that don’t have one, much as nations that call themselves democratic republics are often neither.
coprageous (adj) — outrageously fecal, or fecally outrageous; our first attempt to come up with a word beyond “despicable,” since it’s pretty clear we need one.
coronavirus — God’s response to authoritarianism and its (associated) incompetence (see also plagues, seven). Sadly, it’s usually others, not the authoritarian, who play the ultimate price. Like much else that’s divine, it’s double-edged, in part to send a message: unless the people rise up against the authoritarians, they can and will just ride the wave to accumulate more power.
crimey — adj., something that isn’t illegal, but should be. When pointed out, the aspersion is often responded to with “crimey a river”
customer responsibility — when companies act proactively to make improvements to their products that benefit their customers. Distinguished from corporate responsibility, which involves helping non-customers in order to attract customers and investors, and customer service, which involves helping customers deal with product flaws.
darky, darkie — a member of the dark money elite, 1%ers whose only real interest is the accumulation of power and assets for themselves, not the good of the society that make their ascension possible (without which, best case, they’d be living in unusually well-appointed caves). Unfortunately, many poor and working class whites have yet to realize what the word really means, and who it applies to.
davosphere — named for the annual Davos conference in Switzerland, the davosphere is an atmospheric layer of the planet exclusively inhabited by the world’s business and political elites. Nearly all foreign and international policy is based on the opinions of davospherians, without reference to the experience of the other 6 billion+ members of the human race, making economic development the oxymoron it is today.
dawkins (v), dawkinsian (adj) — cf Richard Dawkins. To ‘dawkins’ is to take such an absolutist approach to an argument that you insist there’s an explanation consonant with your point of view for every data point, no matter how contrary it seems (as Dawkins has done with regard to ‘selfish genes’), and disregard even your own best ideas if they don’t fit with this preconcieved notion (as Dawkins did in discarding the idea of memes). Typically results in tautology (like religion, ironically) and/or what Gyro Gearloose called “building a house to solve the problems of a picnic.”
deep hate — Donald Trump, the syncophancy behind him in his administration, the right-wing media, and far-right groups in the field, who are collectively behind the alt-right conspiracy to destroy democracy and other American values.
demobbing — actions taken to stop pile-on activity in social media or to defend or give support to those who are being attacked in this way.
deserving poor — in the rest of the world, those who deserve to be helped; in America, those who deserve to be poor, namely the poor.
diabolic — something that seems ingeniously evil, whether it’s intentional or not, e.g. provoking an enemy with WMDs who’s most likely to use them asymmetrically in locations where your opposition lives just before what’s expected to be a close election race. Could be the result of demonic possession.
dinosaur thinking, dinoism — a determination to recapture a past past, especially efforts that could potentially lead to extinction. Example: trying to revive the coal industry as the rest of the world works to combat climate change by moving to renewables. Dinoism is the opposite of dynamism, and, fittingly, the Latin root “dino” means terrible.
disposiple — a “principle” that’s put forward vociferously when it’s useful and convenient to do so, abandoned when it’s not. For conservatives: federalism, fiscal responsibility. For liberals: the first amendment…
dorothy, dorothy moment — when you realize that the solution to a problem you’ve been having has been right in front of you all along.
eifrigstoren — the pleasure one gets when matter-of-factly pointing out the contradictions in the point of view of the strategically or blindly pious, the pompous, the self-righteous, the rigidly idiological–or observing someone else do so–and watching the ground crumble beneath their brain stems and their heads explode. Like schadenfreude, but more elevated and noble, though still with a whiff of naughtiness.
einstein (v) — To take an idea or a premise to its logical extreme to see what other ideas or deeper truths might fall out, e.g. the special theory of relativity, in which the premise (that the speed of light must always remain the same as observed by all observers in any state of motion) results in the conclusion that as velocity increases, distances shorten, mass increases, and time slows down. Einstein called special relativity God’s “great cosmic joke,” because of the resemblance between how he reached his conclusions and the way a typical comedy routine plays out. Ironically, Einstein didn’t get the punchline of his own joke when he attacked quantum mechanics (i.e. all particles are intertwined with others and there are an infinite number of universes).
elephantine — A propensity to hold on to memory to the point where it becomes counterproductive, e.g. bearing a Balkan-sized grudge over something that happened on a bridge in the 1200’s. The legend of the length of elephant memory arose over their ability to find water in places it was located before, but times–and climates–change. The association of the elephant with a particular American political party may be coincidence, or it may be apt, but “those who remember only the past are also doomed to repeat it.”
endazer — a zombified religious zealot who is unconcerned, even pleased, about natural and man-made disasters, or decisions with the potential to create them in future, because in his/her view, they only hasten the Judgment Day they are eagerly awaiting. See suicaust for God’s likely response to this, based on scripture.
eneme — someone in whom the natural human tendency to be one’s own worst enemy is especially pronounced.
enemy of the people — anyone who pursues only his/her own interest, or the interests of a minority of the population, not the majority of Americans (a.k.a. “the people”)
eurochik — as in apparatchik, someone who has a reflexively positive (or euroflex) reaction to all European government programs and ideas, always comparing them favorably to our own, without realizing they would not be possible without the twin engines of the American and Chinese economies or, in some cases, stacked decks that don’t apply anywhere else.
evernal — something that happens again and again in cycles, especially online, “as sure as spring follows winter” (or vice versa), cf eternal + vernal (meaning spring), e+vernal.
fabriot — a follower of fabricism, someone who values cloth over Constitution, unaware that only autocrats compel their citizens to stand for flags.
fact-blind — an individual or group of people who don’t know things they should through no real fault of their own (a la snow blindness), due to a substandard foundational education and the blizzard of information and misinformation they are now exposed to on a daily basis, which leaves them feeling unable to trust anything but their ‘gut’ about what’s true and right, much like a soldier does in the chaos of battle. In general, we want to assume that people who appear to be “willfully ignorant” are just fact-blind, not veriphobes (see below)
fake news — anything being said by someone using the term; anything said by them at all if they use it repeatedly
fetushists (fee-tus-shists) — people with an obsession with protecting the lives of the unborn they aren’t willing to apply to the children and others who are already with us (cf. fetishists, but with a fetish for fetuses). Synonym: birther, given the high level of overlap between those who are pro-birth and those who believe Obama was born in Kenya.
flycatching — given the size of the challenges we face, we’ll likely be looking for as many opportunities to “kill two/multiple birds with one stone” in creative politics as we can; and given that birds are rapidly disappearing from the planet (including flycatchers), it’s an expression we’d prefer not to use anymore. As is often the case where language is concerned, the Germans have a better alternative: zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen, which literally means “to slay two flies with one swatter.” In the course of generating our current problems, we humans have, if anything, greatly increased the number of flies, and at least some of our solutions may reduce them.
fraudian — a particular species of gaffe in which a con man inadvertently gives up the game, e.g. “I had nothing to do with the Russians helping me to win the election.”
furocracy — government by furor and fury, in which decisions are primarily, if not exclusively, made based on the level of pain they will inflict on the regime’s opponents. See also spiteism. Not to be confused with furrocracy, government by furries.
germanic — in writing or speaking, a tendency to hang words and phrases on sentences like ornaments on a tannenbaum; among less intelligent or dementing members of the tribe, may devolve to word salad
ghostmark — an earmark in the spirit of the founders, and against the interests of the K Street swamp
globe-spinning, globe-spinner — Spinning like the globe means truly being in the no-spin zone and telling the unvarnished truth–the only spin you’re imparting is that provided by the laws of nature, born out of a synthesis of the perspectives of people around the world (not just repeating or telling the official story).
glugging — a desperate form of sliming, in which one politician attacks another for acts, traits, and behaviors that it’s generally understood he is far more guilty of himself, much as a drowning man grasps at what’s familiar and recognizable, glug, glug, glug. Example: Trump attacking Biden for corruption, senility, and mistreatment of women.
going postal — Included because one of our writers first started using it online in 1991 and wants it known that he invented it (the first recorded use of the term is in a North Carolina newspaper in 1994)
gordian — a once-in-a-lifetime, otherwise impossibly simple solution to a complex problem, after the Gordian knot, which was said to grant rule over the world to anyone who could untie it, which Alexander the Great achieved by taking his sword and slicing through it. 2. Anything that is unusually twisted, e.g. a gordian irony
great pumpkin, gp — the passive, and therefore more modern, version of the “great white whale” (i.e. Moby Dick); not something you’re chasing, but something you keep believing is going to happen, no matter how many times it doesn’t. e.g. tax cuts for the wealthy paying for themselves, or trickle-down economics more generally. Each time it fails to occu, you find reasons why it didn’t happen this time, but would if either some vague and/or impossible conditions were met. You might even resort to claiming, repeatedly enough, that it really did (cf Charles Schultz’ Peanuts, in which the GP is a Halloween phantasm who only appears in the “most sincere” pumpkin patches). Everyone has a Great Pumpkin or two; they’re part of what makes life worth living.
greenland, greenland moment — when you put forward an idea that’s not nearly as crazy as it sounds, and actually even makes sense in a lot of ways, but nonetheless is beyond the pale (outside the Overton window), cf. Trump’s proposal to take Greenland off the hands of the Danes. Not to confused with childishly cancelling a meeting because the the other party refuses to discuss your greenland.
green thumb, green-thumbed — traditionally, someone who can make anything grow. In politics, someone who can make the economy grow under any condition; more specifically, someone who takes as first principle that we must have both a strong economy and a clean environment, that we can’t have one without the other, and who, ideally, has skills to help make this happen (which we all do, if we think about it)
grenouille — from the French word for frog leg; someone who has allowed themselves to normalize and numb themselves to each new outrage of the times, like a frog slowly being boiled to death because it refuses to jump out of a pot of water as the temperature rises.
grenouillist — references a time and place, like the 1930s in Germany or America today, when incrementally ‘moving the goalposts’ to methodically crush opposition without alarming opponents to the point of active resistance, is employed as a continuous governing strategy. Compare, for example, the daily stream of laws against the Jews under Hitler with the daily stream of actions against immigrants or the environment today, or the ways the current administration has so far successfully unspooled revelations about its criminality. 2. Those who employ this strategy.
griftocracy — government designed to be paid for by suckers. Local governments that send their cops fanning out for annual ‘violation drives’ rather than just collecting tax dollars from those who can best afford it are griftocracies. State governments financed by revenues collected from the mathematically-challenged, e.g. lotteries and casinsos–are griftocracies. Federal governments with 70,000 page tax codes are just three-card monte players with a lot more cards. Any government that suborns or engages in voter suppression or takes a caveat emptor attitude towards the right to vote in any way is a griftocracy at its worst.
hamleting — a polite, more elevated way of saying “dithering.” We need more words like this that give the benefit of the doubt to the people we’re (rightly) criticizing, that accept that doing otherwise may not be as easy for them as it sounds (nor would it be for us, if we were truly in their shoes), things we can say with a wry smile instead of spitting out in anger, words that roll off the tongue, unlike the stilted language of the politically correct. Seriously, PC needs a few more words like splunge…
hate buddy — Someone you would really hate if your spiritual beliefs allowed you to do so; a lopsided attenuation of “frenemy.”
hater — Someone who persistently, unflinchingly criticizes authoritarianism, corruption, and incompetence in high places, irregardless of the potential cost to themselves or their relationships with others. Often applied to Trump opponents by Trump supporters, with multiple layers of unintended irony. The original meaning of the word, created by the African-American community–i.e. someone who is jealous of others’ success–has clearly been lost; most of us would rather die a thousand deaths than have the life Donald Trump has led on our consciences. There’s no one on the planet we’re less jealous of.
haunting — A technique used to drive voters to oppose a candidate whose sins are so legion as to be overwhelming and numbing, by exposing the population to their misbehavior steadily, in small doses, in a specific sequence (e.g. a crescendo), until, like the occupants of a haunted house, they grasp the enormity of it and take action, e.g. our current bill of the day campaign.
hemingway’s law — originally applied to bankruptcy and how it happens–first gradually, then all at once–now seems to be all around us, in some cases we hope (so).
hippocrat — a Democrat suffering from political Type 2 obesity, typically as a result of years of consuming excessive sugar from their 1% daddies; flabby and weak (see Clinton, Bill; Congress 2009-10), betraying their core principles (like hypocrites, bigly), intoning phraseology like “first, do no harm” as an excuse for careerist cowardice, turning bipartisanship into a dirty-word synonym for Republican-lite.
hoax — an unusually serious problem (see e.g. climate change, Russian election interference, coronavirus), especially one that can be attributed to foreign sources.
IDED, ideds — improvised democracy-exploding devices, cf. unusually corrosive arguments, claims, or catchphrases recklessly deployed without concern over what elements of our system of government or way of life might be shredded by the lovingly handpacked intellectual and emotional shrapnel they contain in the process. Examples: “deep state,” “fake news.” The weapon of choice for political terrorists who, like others of their ilk, are nothing but self-absorbed egotists pretending to be about a cause.
idiologue — an ideologue of any stripe, because all ideologues are idiots.
ill duce — Il Duce (“The Leader”) was the name the last great authoritarian strutter, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Ill Duce is one of the names we give the latest greatest authoritarian strutter, in honor of his claimed affinity with hip-hop moguls (aka “the blacks”) and mental health.
imgrate — someone unwilling or unable to see and appreciate all the good immigrants have done and are doing for them (and for our country).
impassion — an impasse reached solely because the parties involved are too emotionally invested in their positions to work towards a solution.
imperify — imputing to government powers of the gods, believing either that it can solve all problems or that it’s the source of all woe, from the Latin imperium, meaning government, dating from a time–the Roman Empire–when governments were a lot more powerful than they are today, though not as powerful as our governments want us to believe they are (so as to keep us underfoot). People who believe this–whether on the right or left–are imperifists.
in vino veritas — the peculiar belief it’s only when large portions of your mind have been crippled or dashed to inoperability that you can see and speak the truth.
iocaine — to grossly overthink an issue or strategy (and get blind-sided by the simple as a result), cf this scene from The Princess Bride
joax — a fake hoax (since so many things called hoaxes are real these days)
kasparov’s law — anything a machine can do, a machine + a human can do better (as he proved after his unfair loss to Deep Blue by teaming up with computers to crush all comers, carbon or silicon); corollary: when/where this is not true, the machine should do the job (i.e. man should not be used as a machine).
kompromatic, kompromatically — when a politician or official says or does things that make no sense unless the beneficiary has incriminating or compromising audio or video about them.
libran — balanced in an elevated, even cosmic way, if not bipartisan.
limbo — The state an increasing proportion of Americans find themselves in, not wanting to live, but not wanting to die.
lophorinic — something that’s ‘crazy creative,’ meaning both creative and certifiable, possibly in a good way, possibly redefining crazy, an idea where the box is nowhere to be found, and fully exposed to the sun and other elements as a result. Often simply a source of joy (e.g. many Japanese products); in these times, increasingly ‘so-crazy-it-could-work’ desperate. Cf. the Superb Bird of Paradise, Lophorina superba (at right, click)
lysis — to use one’s reproductive organs for political leverage, cf Lysistrata, the ancient Greek play in which Athenian women withhold sexual congress from their men until they agree to stop fighting wars. Today, applications could be more wide-ranging.
manutia — the minutia of government process and regulation on which crony capitalists feed, like fungi, out of the light (cf. manure)
miracle — when human beings do something against what’s believed to be their nature and beyond what’s believed to be their capacity or capability. What God does isn’t ever a miracle; God can do anything, if you’re someone of faith you expect it, and if you’re not, you don’t believe in miracles anyway, only in coincidences.
murkowski (v) — to support a primaried representative of the other party to encourage more independence from the dictates of the other party’s leadership and/or extremist base, cf. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who was primaried, lost, won as a write-in candidate, and is now the only Republican who most often defies Donald Trump and most often rejects the partisan excesses of her party. Mitt Romney may need to be murkowskied by Utah Democrats next cycle.
mwalimu, walimu — a political leader who prioritizes an informed electorate, seeking to explain and educate his/her constituents in a non-partisan way about policies and process so that voters can come to their own, well-founded conclusions, from the Swahili word for teacher, which is often applied to leaders in Africa as well. Also an adjective to describe a leader with these qualities.
naschia, naschiang — to understand why something unethical or immoral was done without excusing it in any way. The negation or inversion of the West African patois aschia, which means “sorry–I empathize,” commonly uttered when someone else encounters even the smallest of misfortunes. If anyone is entitled to define what’s worthy or unworthy of empathy, it’s the people of West Africa, who bore the brunt of hundreds of years of slavery, and endure Jim Crow in all its forms to this day. Synonyms, from the Yiddish or Hebrew, and from Lakota, TBD.
nationalize — to do something seemingly impossible, whether it’s facing and winning five elimination games against four teams that collectively won more than four hundred games, or simply bringing the country back together as the United States again.
nazdar — akin to gaydar, referring to an unusual capacity to accurately detect incipient authoritarianism, a capability possessed solely by those who have actually lived under totalitarian regimes. Everyone else? Should just shut up and listen.
never-trumper — synonym for patriot
newtories, (sing) newtory — sometimes pronounced NEWT-ories, in honor of the founding father of the movement; refers to the sizable minority of Americans who, like the Tories or Loyalists of colonial and revolutionary days, prefer to be ruled by a king or other authoritarian figure, indeed have declared their undying loyalty to one.
nextdoor (n) — a true citizen-legislator, an anti-celebrity, a leader who still is “where they came from” (not just “hasn’t forgotten”), and where they came from is somewhere close to us all.
norm (n) — 1. An authoritative standard 2. A principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior. These are the first two definitions of the word according to Webster, and they’re still the definitions, despite efforts by the current administration, enabled by the media, to redefine “norms” to mean options at the political buffet. Which could ultimately have the opposite effect of what’s intended, by forcing Congress to generate EU-level codifications of what until recently was just informally understood, in the process removing flexibility that’s given us competitive advantage over the Europeans and others.
nothingburger — a clear violation of American values, ethics, and/or laws that the speaker does not consider important.
occam (v) — to apply the scientific and philosophical principle of Occam’s Razor, which states that the simplest explanation for something is usually the right one.
of by for — the ultimate state of pure diversity in governance envisioned by our old fellow traveler/commie, Abraham Lincoln, on the leveling fields of Gettysburg, where not only all ethnic groups have a real voice, but so do pipefitters, plumbers, beauticians, and mailmen, even the mentally ill and men with facial hair.
ovaler — someone occupying the presidency who did not receive the most votes in the previous election–not a synonym for president. An ovalist is someone who favors this kind of minority usurpation of power.
over window — the inverse of the Overton window, which defines the boundaries of political discourse at any given time; the over window refers to those times in our history when pretty much anything goes and the nation is subject to profound changes, for better or worse, cf. “that’s so over” or “over the top;” a pivot point or “interesting times” on steroids…
people are saying — euphemism/synonym for “I hear voices.”
pesadilla — a politician whose words, actions, and behavior is so provocative it results in catastrophic overreaction in his/her opponents, leading them to self-destruct (cf. the Spanish flu, aka la pesadilla, which killed mostly young, healthy adults by causing their immune systems to go nuclear).
petechial — the simultaneous sensation of choking and wanting to choke someone in return as a result of the state of the world, cf. the ever-present “petechial hemmoraghing” that seems to be found in every cop show autopsy we watch because we cannot sleep.
pino — president in name only, not to be confused, ever, with pinoe, an American hero (we prefer our heroes unbankrupt)
pity — something you can say you feel for someone you would hate with extreme prejudice if your faith or personal beliefs didn’t prohibit it. Pity them coldly if you don’t believe they or everyone is capable of redemption; pity them hotly if you do…
policyst — the political ecosystem, where life is nasty, brutish, but there’s always K Street.
polistatic — an adjective describing a political party, idea, or practice that, like a metastatic cancer, has no purpose other than its own preservation and propagation, winning for the sake of winning, mindlessly growing, even if at great harm to the body politic that hosts it. The modern Republican Party is in a state of polistasis.
political correctness, politically correct — unthinking, knee-jerk, absolute defense of, and support for, an authoritarian leader or demogogue, no matter what he/she says or does.
politirade — outrage for nothing but knee-jerk politically correct reasons.
positives, positive people — people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, people who need to stay positive and whom we need to stay and be positive for.
powers-that-behind — formerly known as the powers-that-be, before they disappeared behind the curtains of surveillance and began sending others’ children forward to die for their mistakes, which have become legion as they become increasingly disconnected from quotidian existence and fall further and further behind the rhythms of the real world.
pragmatic — dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations. This is actually the current dictionary definition of the word. We just want to be clear that as far as we’re concerned, it continues to be the correct definition, even though many politicians seem to believe that it’s now a synonym for “doing nothing.”
preback — opinions offered about a news or research piece before or without having actually read it (cf. feedback).
process crime — when someone gets away with something that either is, or should be, illegal, as a result of flaws in the process or system. Example: Donald Trump not paying taxes on $400M with no consequences, or Jeffrey Epstein getting a slap on the wrist for trafficking and assaulting underage girls. Often misunderstood as a synonym for obstruction–e.g. for acts such as lying to authorities, destroying evidence, intimidating witnesses, dangling pardons–with the intent of minimizing the seriousness of these actions. But obstruction of justice is, by definition, an effort to obscure or hide the truth; if obstruction is considered a “process crime” and “process crimes” are of minimal significance, then all crimes are of minimal significance and should not be prosecuted, since all crimes involve an effort on the part of the defendent to obscure or hide truth in one form or another. Think about it.
projectionism, projectionist — a political ‘philosophy’ that attributes to its opponents’ actions that its own adherents are, in fact, carrying out themselves, reflecting motives its supporters would have if they were in the same position. Often easy to detect at its absurd extremes, for example, claims that “bad polls are the real voter suppression,” or incoherences such as “no puppet no puppet you puppet,” unsurprisingly and inevitably boiling down to nothing but a playground taunt: “I know you are, but what am I?”
psyber — cf. an action or activity that leverages and combines elements of psychology and technology to achieve an effect, e.g. the psyberwarfare the Russians and the Trump campaign conducted in 2016 and have continued since.
pumpkinheads — the ‘lock her up, CNN sucks’ contingent at Trump rallies, those who have drunken in so much of the man in their idolatry they’ve turned orange to the core, with their brains turned into mush…but just as in Cinderella, it’s never too late to change back…
pumpkin patch — where pumpkinheads gather to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, sometimes Trump, sometimes some other elaborate and powerful fiction they’ve collectively conjured up in their minds (e.g. any day now, the Justice Department is going to arrest half the FBI and Congress to make them pay for their insurrection and treason or, this time the tax cut has enough pages to pay for itself and produce trickle-down growth as far as the eye can see), convinced that if they’re just sincere enough in their beliefs, they will all come true. And if not, well, there’s always deus ex machina oplo.
qa — a descriptor of someone obsessed with quality (“he’s very QA”), nearly always a positive in an increasingly speed-driven slipshod world, except when it slips into perfectionism, OCD, or a gleeful determination to find flaws.
real football — what’s really going on in the world, as opposed to what we Americans know of from our own parochialism, cf the game that’s actually played with the feet we insist on calling soccer.
rearranging — putting forward policy ideas that look like they’re addressing a problem, but never actually take it on head-on (cf. “rearranging the chairs of the Titanic”). Someone who does this routinely is a rearranger.
redpilling — addiction to a political medication that, like cancer, is particularly dangerous and insidious because it turns your own body and mind against you. While, like cancer, redpilling is largely a product of civilization, the primary cause of red pill addiction is informational rather than chemical or biological. Arguably an epidemic that dwarfs opiates in its severity and scope.
red tuna, straw herring — an especially disingenuous argument, much bigger than a red herring, or dizzyingly confusing, even mutanical, as a cross between a red herring and a straw man can be.
revenewer — a leader, thinker, or activist who finds ways to better our country by increasing the size of the pie rather than merely redistributing it (care must be taken to distinguish from pseudo variants such as trickledowners)
repo, repos — the real Republicans In Name Only, who have sold out the bedrock principles of Republicanism to game/gain the benefits of an unholy alliance with crony capitalists and religious zealots, cf. repo men, the professionals who take from the poor and give to the rich.
reversican — a Republican who tries to use lame duck legislation or legal ation to undo the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box. Reversicans are part of a broader class of so-called and self-proclaimed Republicans known as perversicans, who pervert or betray core values that made theirs the Grand Old Party, in pursuit of political and financial gain, typically both in tandem.
rogerian, rogersian (adj) a positive descriptor of someone who, while passionate about politics, has the rare facility to avoid making assumptions about someone’s character based on their political beliefs, or about their political beliefs based on their appearance, occupation, or locale. (cf the iconic Native American political humorist Will Rogers, who often said “I never met a man I didn’t like,” or something close enough). See also Rogerian, which refers to a different, unrelated Rogers, yet interestingly enough is not unrelated in meaning.
rural funeral procession — one car driving very slowly, followed by a long line of others, all in mourning because they can’t pass him.
sadim — someone who ruins everything and everyone he touches or comes in contact with, as in the opposite of midas (not our creation, but has never seemed so useful).
saladspeak — the 2018 version of 1984’s doublespeak, in honor of our word salad-spouting would-be dictator; a poor imitation of the original.
santa zone — a belief that requires overlooking as many counterfactuals as the idea that one man on a sleigh can deliver packages to every home on earth in a single night. Three beliefs rapidly approaching the santa zone, if they aren’t already there: that man-made climate change is a hoax, that there was no collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and the validity of the economic underpinnings supporting the ever-expanding (and increasingly Soviet grey) Green New Deal.
scarebait — headlines designed to frighten and alarm, ostensibly to get clicks, but because most Americans don’t read beyond headlines, contributing to division and despair instead…
scoville — a “gotcha,” landmine or jujitsu move in a political discussion or debate, especially for an opponent who’s ‘leading with their chin,’ akin to accidentally biting into a pepper that’s high on the Scoville scale of hotness.
secretariat — a true stable genius.
selection — any “election” where anything other than the votes of the majority of those who went to the polls determines the result.
self-servant — a government official who mainly acts in his/her own interest, rather than in the interest of their constituents or the country.
sequoias, stacks — sequoias are people or machines with negative carbon footprints, i.e. they reduce carbon emissions more than they emit, standing tall; stacks (as in smokestacks) do the reverse.
shivan — someone who seems intent on destroying the world or everything around him, from the Indian goddess Shiva, “the destroyer of worlds.”
simbustible, simbustion — when two people or sets of ideas combine in such a way that each adds to the other with explosive, unidirectional, typically positive effect, cf. simpatico + combustible.
slainte, salud, sante, etc. — we have all kinds of things to say when someone sneezes, but what do we say when they cough, which could well indicate a wide variety of more serious conditions? “Slainte,” “sante,” “salud,” and their equivalents in other languages are typically used as toasts when people are drinking, but they mean “health,” which is only true in moderation. In a nation where more and more of our fellow citizens are using alcohol and other substances in a desperate attempt to escape the conditions they live in, wouldn’t it make more sense to wish “slainte,” “salud” or “sante” to our fellows as they’re trying to ward off the slings and arrows of our century in the air they breathe than as they prepare to descend into oblivion?
slippery slope — everything. The NRA’s not wrong. Like every life form and every object we act upon, every time we take an action, everytime we normalize something, it creates further momentum in the same direction, all but insuring that someone else will “push the envelope.” Politicians should tread not just lightly, but as if they’re on a sheet of ice in dress shoes. At the same time, as anyone from the north country knows, where cold reality is concerned, often it’s moving with trepidation, not confidence, that causes you to end up on your kiester. Water, the stuff of life, is like that–cold, suprisingly hard, and full of paradoxes.
solomonize — to resolve a dispute by reframing the principle(s) on which it’s based, rather than by compromise, cf. King Solomon.
somnium’s law — the greatest gains per economic unit invested are achieved when what’s spent is expended on those with the least among us.
sophistorific — someone who is highly knowledgeable and cosmopolitan yet surprisingly, notably bland and boring (cf sophisticated + soporific).
sophistricate — someone expert in the latest, most sophisticated forms of sophistry in making their cases–Byron York, for example.
soul-groping — the media proclivity to believe that gaffes and incidents from a politician’s (distant) past reveal who they really are and what they’ll really do, cf the ancient fable of the blind men and the elephant.
spilling the beans — hacking into electoral machinery or subsequent forensic work that uncovers the peoples’ true will, fr. ancient Greece, where voting by secret ballot was achieved by the use of white and black beans (for yes and no) unless someone knocked over the jar where the votes were collected. The ultimate testament to the power of democracy: that this idiosyncracy is still the basis of a common idiomatic expression more than 2,000 years after it was coined.
stig — someone who defends all actions of an autocrat or authoritarian, even those by which he/she has been personally harmed (cf Stig O’Tracy, a character in this Monty Python sketch). Considered by some now to be a synonym for “Trump supporter,” at least in the case of those who aren’t wealthy.
sublimate, sublimation — in physical chemistry, the change of a substance from solid to gaseous form without an intermediate liquid state; in politics, a sudden and/or drastic change in policy or philosophy that doesn’t go through any of the usual processes that guide, shape, or assimilate such changes; in political argument, an intuitive leap of logic that may be right, but isn’t easily explained. Warning: volatile.
subline, sublining — A media headline used to send a political message at odds with the actual facts being reported in the story (cf subliminal + headline), often at odds with that outlet’s percieved biases (which makes it doubly effective), usually to appease a feared power or simply reflecting the reality that headlines, unlike news stories themselves, are dictated from above by individuals with very different economic status and motivations than front-line reporters. The opposite of clickbait; the hope and calculation of a subline writer is that readers won’t read the actual piece that follows.
subspoil, subspoiling–to let the cat out of a bag that contains no cat (though it may contain other fauna) for political gain.
suicaust — when a whole people has gone down a path that will inevitably result in their own destruction, likely in the most horrific ways. Evangelicals who are thrilled with Trump and disinclined to do anything about climate change because they’re eager to hasten The Rapture had better hope that the Lord doesn’t take the same attitude towards suicausts as they believe He/She does where individual suicides are concerned.
tds — aka Trump derangement syndrome. 1. a condition characterized by amusement, delight, or righteous satisfaction every time something he says or does angers or upsets more than half of one’s fellow citizens (or 90%+ of the human race), especially if the reaction is the source of joy. 2. the tossing aside of all logic, reason, common sense, science, evidence of all types, principles, and, in some cases, every principle one has ever had, to support and defend him.
terrorist — synonym for egotist or narcissist. Some of us don’t believe at all in synonyms, but in cases like this, we’re willing to make exceptions for the common good.
thanatotic — someone who behaves as if they have a death wish, for themselves or for everyone around them, from thanatos, the Greek word for death.
thirtied, thirtying — to be treated by a government the way the Jews were treated in Germany in the 1930s, before the Holocaust. Specifically, to be subject to a seemingly never-ending series of executive orders, bureaucratic decisions, and legislation against you, as if the regime wakes up each morning with the goal of finding at least one new way to attack your presence in its midst (in the first six years of the Nazi regime, more than 400 separate laws and decrees against the Jews were made, a “boil the frog” strategy executed by sadists). In the US today, immigrants and the natural world around us appear to be getting relentlessly thirtied.
trickledowner — anyone who still subscribes to the many times discredted trickle-down theory of economics, with an emphasis on downer, reflecting the impact related “policies” have had on the mental health of 90-99% of our population, in which the incidence of serious mental issues is now analagous to war zones like Syria and Sudan.
the vote — formerly known as the “popular” vote, now given the same name as it’s given in every country with any pretense to be a democracy, a republic, or a constitutional republic, and as it should be in the nation that has held itself up and been held up all over the world as father of same.
tragedy of the hourglass — akin to the tragedy of the commons, but in time rather than space; occurs when someone treats every opportunity to stand up and be counted as akin to a grain of sand in an hourglass–there will always be another chance to fall on one’s sword tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, until one day they look up, and the hourglass is empty; their time and chances have run out.
trial balloon — (obs) synonym for normalization
troll — a one-dimensional simulacrum of a human being.
trr — tanned, rested, and ready.
true net worth — measured not in how much money you have vs your debts but what your net impact has been on the world. By this standard, a teacher, social worker, or drug counselor, for example, could have a much higher true net worth than someone claiming to be a billionaire who has made his ‘fortune’ building casinos (which ruin people lives), cheating the government of tax revenues (which the rest of us have to make up for, either in taxes or deficit interest), fronting crime syndicates and terrorist organizations, stiffing investors and contractors, defrauding customers, and using the tiny charitable foundation he has created as a personal piggyback, with all attendant ripple effects. Just for example.
trump (v): to supercede your earlier statement, explanation, or position with another one that better fits the facts as those facts are revealed, sometimes also known as “moving the goalposts.” Example: “Mexico will pay for the wall”–>”the money our companies are going to make and pay tax on in the new trade deal means Mexico is paying for the wall”–>”Mexico is the wall.”—>? Cf. the act of “trumping” in bridge and other card games.
trumpfiant, trumfiant — triumphantly (and often inappropriately) defiant
trumpist, trumpian — someone who not only has a Dunning-Kruger level of unwarranted confidence in their knowledge and abilities, but believes their knowledge, understanding, and capabilities in most–if not all–domains exceeds that of all individuals who have dedicated their lives to becoming expert in these areas combined, always ‘following their gut,’ even if it’s only leading to a fast food chain. As a necessary consequence, they also continually fabricate facts to bend reality to their beliefs, and violate norms with impunity, since they often conflict with what they believe.
trump’s axiom — the less you know or have learned about a subject, the more valid your opinion about it is.
trumptopia — a mythical idyll inhabited by Trump supporters where everything he says is true, every criticism a lie, and every fact that does not favor him is “fake news.”
trump voter(s) — someone (or a group) who is not expected to vote who therefore ends up deciding the election because they fall outside of, and therefore trump, the game-planning of the parties. In 2016, trump voters were voters for Trump, especially rural whites. In 2020, our money’s on millennials and generation z.
tucker — a mindless contrarian, or worse, a “contrarian” with an agenda. Particularly egregious individuals may be known as “mothertuckers.”
tweedledeedum — the status or adjective aptly used to describe our government in the last half century, in which our indistinguishable elected millionaires and billionaires stage WWE-like controversies to cover for the fact that they are doing nothing but allowing income inequality to increase and power to become more concentrated, cf. the African proverb: “when elephants fight, only the grass suffers”
two-fooled — from the old expression, “fooled me twice, shame on me.” Best defined via example: Democrats have been too-fooled by Republicans where fiscal responsibility is concerned; the same people who decried deficits when the Democrats were in power have spent like profligates since they took over. Being two-fooled obligates the victim, at a minimum, to ignore the other party’s concerns about the issue the next time the victimized party takes power, and may even compel the offended party to act in ways diametrically opposed to those concerns, since, as Republicans have always told us about leaders in other countries who behave in this way, it “may be the only language they understand.”
uplash — a positive backlash, meaning not just a rocking chair reaction against something, but a reaction that builds on and supercedes the original trend.
vengeance — the first resort of autocrats.
veriphobic, veriphobes — someone who is opposed to science and enlightenment or any effort to objectively seek the truth, prefering to just rely on their “gut,” what they “believe in,” or “common sense,” from veritas, meaning truth. Hostile to education, hostile to educating oneself, knowledge and/or expertise, opposed to those who are educated, intellectual, knowledgeable, or expert. The existing words to describe this quality, e.g. anti-intellectual or philistine, sound effete, elitist, words that could be worn with pride (like “stubborn”). By contrast, veriphobe and veriphobic are ugly and demeaning words, as such behavior deserves to be treated, and cannot be spun positively in any way–what can or should be positive about being afraid of or opposing the search for truth?
velocicog, velocicogging, velocicoggers — another ugly, clearly negative word to describe another ugly, negative behavior that seems to be in vogue today, namely fast, shallow, lazy thinking (per Kahnemann) when it’s not appropriate or necessary, jumping to conclusions; easily duped as a result. From velocity (speed) + cognition (thinking)
velocirapt — Fixated on speed, even at the expense of quality, and therefore short-term in outlook at the expense of the future; in consonance with “If your first version doesn’t suck, you’re too late” (Reid Hoffman) or “Move fast and break things” (Mark Zuckerberg), rather than “If you’re off by an inch on landing, no big deal; if you’re off by an inch on takeoff, you miss the moon by a million miles” (Neil Armstrong); centered on the tech world, but unfortunately spreading. From velocity (speed), with a little extinct savagery thrown in.
vichys, vichies — Republicans who do nothing, go along with, or actively collaborate with Trump and Trumpists (cf. Vichy France, the French collaborators with Hitler and the Nazis)
vicioma — a runaway cancer of the brain caused by an obsession with winning, at all costs.
violation drive — like a public television/radio fundraising drive, but with cops; a method used by localities to balance their budgets on the backs of those who they can ticket rather than those who can afford to pay.
v**al, vi**l, vir*l — alternative spellings for the popular new media term “viral” since the advent of COVID-19
waac — win at all costs.
war — the state where the opinions and votes of some count more than others.
waron — a war by proxy, where others do the fighting, and you get to watch. Examples: the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on terror (including Iraq and Afghanistan).
wisend — the opposite of wizened; someone who is wise well beyond their years, “4 going on 40” or more; an apt descriptor for the under-30 generation that’s the greatest hope for the future our country has had since the Greatest Generation came of age in the crucible of the Great Depression and World War II.
whoville — the state or place we’re in when facing WWII-level challenges like climate change that will require ‘every Who in Whoville’ ro overcome, cf. the Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hears A Who.
witch hunt — an admission of guilt; synonym: no collusion.
worthless(-) — someone who is not merely worthless, but whose net impact on the world has been negative to date (there’s always hope); the superlative form is (worthless(-))^n, i.e. a negative worth to the nth power, someone whose impact on the world has been extremely net negative. Because nearly all humans have significant redeeming qualities, there are very few such people in the world; we can only think of one in the US.
youty — made-up slang that no one would ever use, or someone who makes up or tries to use slang or inflections in an effort to look ‘down with the peeps’ (cf “Here’s beauty from me to youty,” said no drug dealer ever, except in this ubiquitous 1970’s anti-drug PSA). Youty itself could be a good example, except we’re not coining it to be cool, only to ridicule panderers, especially the ones who seem to be getting away with it. Barack Obama was sometimes a youty, e.g. when he’d go to African-American churches and immediately start dropping his r’s, which they don’t do even in the deepest south of Oahu.
zaphod — someone, for better or worse, with the extreme self-regard often required to do or make something truly significant happen (cf Hitchhiker’s Guide character Zaphod Beeblebrox, the only life form known to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex, which reveals one’s place (and insignificance) in the universe).
Have words you’d like to add? Mods on the ones we have? Tell us in comments below, or hit us up shyly but directly here…