The word is the thing

As we prepare to watch 2016 ride off into the sunset (quite possibly hogtied to a wild horse), one end-of-year event that caught my interest was the folks at Merriam-Webster dictionary selecting their Word of the Year. While normally I'm all about the Oscars, as well as the Harvey and Eisner Awards, the tizzy around Word of the Year and how it touched on something very important to my life—words—sucked me in.

It started with this piece in The Oregonian/Oregon Live on December 1, explaining how Merriam-Webster was Tweeting about how the rising interest in "facism" was making it a real contender for Word of the Year.

Now, I'm kind of like Ferris Bueller when it comes to "-isms"... that, plus the implied reason why "facism" was getting so many lookups at Merriam-Webster,, disturbing. Others found it likewise disturbing, and suddenly there was a spike in lookups for all kinds of words from "puppy" to "flumadiddle."

The next day, Merriam-Webster came back with a rebuttal and an explanation behind their Word of the Year selection process. This put my mind at ease somewhat, and the M-W folks had a good point: people should look up "facism" if they're not sure what it means. (Must...avoid...political commentary...)

In the end, Merriam-Webster selected "surreal" as their Word of the Year. And I have to say, that truly does describes 2016 in a nutshell. We gained a new president in what can safely be described as a tumultuous election, we lost the greatest, a starman and a funnyman, a prince and a princess, and our faith, and on a personal note, I uprooted my life and started Working Vacation Studios. Surreal, indeed.

And on that note, a very Happy New Year, everyone! And may 2017 be a little less surreal...