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Friday, November 8, 2013

Do People Really Need to Look Up "Breathtaking"?

Regular readers of "The Solipsist" look forward to the "Thursday Trendwatch" feature.  In these installments, I review the topics listed in Yahoo's "Trending Now" section, trying to ascertain why these topics are, in fact, trending and making snarky comments all along the way.  At the moment, for example, the  number-one trending topic is KAT VON D.

The tattooed temptress has landed on the trendlist for all the wrong reasons.  (Well, not all the wrong reasons: She has not, to my knowledge, tickled an otter without permission.)  Her line of lip colorings,  "Painted Love," features such shade names as "Hellbent" and "Backstage Bambi."  Now, however, the make-up chain Sephora has pulled one of these lipsticks from its shelves because some people have taken offense at the name: "Celebutard."  I have no idea why people have a problem with a lipstick named after the delicious celery-mustard hybrid grown in the Carpathians, but apparently they do, and Sephora has caved to the pressure.

Anyway, as I say, this trendwatch appears regularly every Thursday except when it doesn't, which is most Thursdays.  I bring it up here, though, because I noticed the other day that Dictionary.com features its own trend list, one even more mystifying than Yahoo's.  Whereas Yahoo! at least provides links on its trending topics, links which take one to news stories that generally shed light on the reasons for an item's sudden popularity, Dictionary.com simply gives a list of. . . words.  One can, of course, click on the words, but this provides only definitions, not explanations.  Indeed, Dictionary.com acknowledges the apparent randomness of this list, titling the section of its webpage, "Suspiciously strong searches."  Or maybe they just used the NSA's term for it.

I can see no particular rationale for why the trending words suddenly find themselves so popular.  The current list: breathtaking, flummoxed, crest, portent, compile, lease, and missive.  When I used to do improv comedy, we would sometimes have to generate a skit incorporating random words shouted out by the inevitably drunk audience members.  This list reminds me of that....

Hey, I know, let's see if I've lost my touch!  Let's see if I can make a sentence about current events that uses these words:

Ummm. . . .

Recent election results contain breathtaking portents for 2016, although some are flummoxed by the crest in popularity of certain politicians now granted a lease on elective office.  Missive.

Damn it!

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