all of the selves we Have ever been
The votes are in, and there is no doubt in my mind that we have a legitimate winner. The best word won! And in my book, it is the best invention since deodorant. It is just too good to keep to myself.
Earlier this week, in a “eureka!” moment I clicked on the link supplied by a friend who is also a lover of words, a thinker, and a seeker. Being from the school of If You Can Name It, You Can Tame It, I am thrilled to have a name for the disease that has overtaken society and an answer to my incessant question, “What the hell just happened?” I feel like a scientist who has spent a lifetime looking down into a microscope or up into the sky and who suddenly arrives at a cosmic breakthrough.
What I don’t understand is how this has stayed so quiet. Why hasn’t the inventor rocketed to fame? Applause please for Cory Doctorow and the American Dialect Society word of the year: enshittification.
I am no John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman, but my take on economics is that unchecked capitalism moves toward greed and corruption. There are no “free markets” where supply is created by demand. The suppliers psychologically and physically manipulate us into “demanding” their products and services. This is why we need government—to keep us all socially responsible, but enough about online platforms and the state of the economy and American politics. I am bringing this new word of the year into common use to include anything that once was good but has been degraded by negative social forces.
Like a kid who just learned the power of dirty words, I find opportunities everywhere to use my new vocabulary. Scrabble anyone? My children will be pleased to know that I am finally replacing the F word in my daily speech, something else that has gone to ruin as I age in this time of general degradation. If you knew me in the past, you might think I am a prisoner of war making coerced statements, but no, it’s really me, another case of the rot done by technology.
Enshittification. Say it once more with feeling! We know what we’ve got. Or what’s got us. Get out some hand sanitizer. Put on some gloves. Let’s clean up this mess!