Can I get a “really?” from the reader on this?
I know that I frequently sound like a curmudgeon who would love to join an Amish society but lacks the emotional fortitude to give up wearing plaid, yet there are times that I feel totally justified in bemoaning how technology is seeping into and overpowering older, more stable forms of culture.
Here’s what I’m sad about today:
The Oxford Dictionary, which I would have said stood as a cultural force against the rapid increase of tech-infused culture, selected the word “GIF” as its 2012 Word of the Year. Really? Here’s what Time said about this oh-so postmodern selection:
That’s GIF the verb, derived from GIF the file extension. These days, people often GIF snippets of movies or speeches to create funny little moving pictures on Tumblrs….“The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year,” notes Oxford University Press’ Katherine Martin, “but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier.”
I get that the word of the year is supposed to be a word that gained prominence or infamy in a given year, and GIF does fit that bill. My real problem here is that, as the Time article also pointed out, “dictionary additions and buzzword lists have been dominated by technology-related terms in recent years.” Now, Time doesn’t see a problem with this, and maybe there isn’t a problem. But I do have a question: should technology be so important and such a major part of our culture that our language is continually being inundated with technical jargon and Internet slang? Shouldn’t our cultural discourse be driven by something…more important?
Maybe I’m crazy or too old. (I am almost 29, after all. In Internet years, that’s like 102.) Am I being a linguistic Don Quixote on this one? Tell me below, Sancho.
Should our culture be so defined by technology?