"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things.....Lexikos.....

Lexikos…pertaining to words. A somewhat apropos follow up to last week’s missive about ‘words.’ Today’s M5T takes a look at some other words that have become front and center in the idiolect of this generation.

1. "Selfie"

In 2013, the esteemed Oxford Dictionary (which, gasp, 20 years ago was actually a book we used to go to look up definitions) declared ‘selfie’ as the word of the year. Scrabble officially recognized this 9-point word in 2014. Oxford suggests the word had its origins from a 2002 picture of an Aussie, posted to a public chat forum (AOL no doubt), who had cut his lip during a drunken celebration of his 21st birthday and was looking for advice as to what to do. I would argue that the first “selfie” occurred in 1839 when Robert Cornelius took the first daguerreotype self-portrait.

2. "Unfriend"

Ahhhhhh, you may think that Facebook is responsible for the origin of this word, but you would lose a trivia challenge on that. While ‘unfriend’ is now commonly used in this generation’s vernacular, it actually had its first reference in 1659 by clergyman Thomas Fuller writing to the Church of England; “I hope, Sir, that we are not mutually un-friended by this difference which hath happened betwixt us. And now, as duelers, when they are both out breath, may stand still and parley, before they have a second pass, let us in cold blood exchange a word, and, mean time, let us depose, at least, suspend, our animosities.” Dueling, however, is no longer the choice or method of un-friending, and the dash in the word has been eliminated. Facebook has arguably cheapened the meaning of a ‘friend’ and has replaced the eloquence of the written word with a click of a button on a screen.

3. "Binge-watch"

Binging and such variants of binge-drinking or binge-eating have been in our lexis for many, many years. While you may think that binge-watching is of Netflix origin, the actual genesis was the result of commercial free, DVD compilations of some of our favorite TV series. Harken back to ‘X-Files,’ ‘The West Wing,’ 'The Sopranos,’ '24,’ and ‘Coupling.’ No longer did we have to wait a week for a next episode of our favorite shows – and on any trips taken, business or pleasure – multiple DVD’s would take a spot in our luggage. Today, whether with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc., we lose just as much sleep binging ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Mad Men,’ ‘The Office,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Scandal,’ etc. And for the record, I can’t wait to stay up all night watching season 2 of ‘Ozark.’

4. "Trillion-dollar market cap"

While not a new phrase, earlier this month, the financial press around the world was abuzz using these four words in the same sentence. Apple had become the first US company to hit a market cap of over one trillion dollars. So much for Dr. Evil’s paltry, ‘one billion dollars.’ All the more amazing is that when Steve Jobs died in 2011, AAPL had a market cap of a mere $350 billion. In 1997, Jobs later admitted that, Apple was ninety days away from bankruptcy, largely because of a little software company called Microsoft. The brilliance of the Mac, and iPod, (in addition to the Apple Watch, AirPods, iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple Care), turned the company around.  The iPhone transformed the company and the entire world. The iPhone X, as the first $1,000 phone, set a new benchmark for phone usage and accepted market pricing. It will be interesting to see how Apple continues to expand its market cap with new products and markets in China and India.

5. "Being Phubbed"

Being snubbed, or snubbing someone by blatantly (or not so discreetly) looking at a phone mid-conversation. Yup, we have all been subjected to this, or are guilty as charged your honor. In 2012, an intern at the American global advertising agency network McCann, came up with the word after the agency challenged lexicographers, authors, and poets to coin a new word to describe this phone behavior. McCann created the ‘Stop Phubbing Campaign,’ which was a clever PR piece to promote the ‘Macquarie Dictionary of Australia.’ Do yourself a favor, put your phone down. Google ‘stop phubbing’ or search on YouTube for, ‘Phubbing: A Word is Born,’ which describes the process of coming up with the word Phubbing.

Here’s to another week of words. Oh, and not phubbing those around you.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved. 

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business.  He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.  

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com  and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook.  Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine.  His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome.  Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com