A couple of months ago at its annual convention in Detroit, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a mock funeral for the “N” word. A symbolic gesture, sure, but not without its impact.
I was reminded of that event when I heard recently that someone was “more than deserving” of an award. It also made me think of the baseball catcher who was “very average.” Small things compared to the “N” word, but not without their erosive effects.
In the software business, and technology in general, we have a thriving culture of these phrases, swarming around our ears like a cloud of gnats or Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hey_Ya!) in the fall and winter of 2003.
Many people are a) oblivious b) have been vaccinated or built immunity over time or c) think there is still value in these words. For the rest of us, they can still cause a psychic rash or at the very least, make us turn off our message receptors.
I’ll give you a few of mine to get started and hope that you’ll return the favor, no matter how painful:
easy to use
wizard (as a synonym for “instructions”)
fast (how fast? don’t ask)
Maybe if we get enough good ones we can put them into a shoe box (or maybe an empty Xbox box) and have a ceremonial cremation at Business of Software 2007.