Friday, November 16, 2018

Oxford Dictionary Announces "Toxic" is Word of Year.

Toxic - 

Schuessler, Jennifer (2018, Nov 14). ‘Toxic’ is Oxford’s Word of the Year. No, We’re not Gaslighting You. The New York Times,

It’s official: 2018 is toxic.

Well, lexicographically speaking, at least. Oxford Dictionaries has chosen “toxic” as its international word of the year, selecting it from a shortlist that included such politically inflected contenders as “gaslighting,” “incel” and “techlash.”

Katherine Connor Martin, the company’s head of U.S. dictionaries, said there had been a marked uptick of interest in the word on its website over the past year. But the word was chosen less for statistical reasons, she said, than for the sheer variety of contexts in which it has proliferated, from conversations about environmental poisons to laments about today’s poisonous political discourse to the #MeToo movement, with its calling out of “toxic masculinity.”
The New York Times article cited here makes light of the circulation of this word, but I think it is a signifier of our times.

We see the toxicity that threatens us, but we are not able to redress it.

Consider this example of a toxic approach to government re-engineering in the UK that we are seeing here also in the US:
Booth, Robert & Butler, Patrick(16 Nov 2018) UK austerity has inflicted 'great misery' on citizens, UN says: Poverty envoy says callous policies driven by political desire for social re-engineering. The Guardian,

The UK government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity, the United Nations poverty envoy has found.
Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that levels of child poverty were “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”, even though the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy,
About 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty and 1.5 million are destitute, being unable to afford basic essentials, he said, citing figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He highlighted predictions that child poverty could rise by 7% between 2015 and 2022, possibly up to a rate of 40%.

As I noted above, the US is re-engineering itself in similar ways, an argument I make with relevance to children in this book Governing Childhood

Trump has accelerated the loosening of health and environmental protections, amplifying the neoliberal/neo-conservative trajectory that has been in place since Reagan.

(with the Democratcs more neoliberal and the Republicans more neo-conservative).

The global toxic effects have been growing inequality within and between countries, increasing numbers of dispossessed people, and accelerating eco-collapse.

Toxic isn't just a word.

Its a reality experienced as social and ecological shocks.

Time is running out.

1 comment:

  1. Gad Saad on the Sciences, the Psychology of Men vs Women, and Robotics


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