Saturday, December 09, 2006

'Truthiness' is US Word of 2006

In a tribute to the cut-through power of comedy, satirist and TV talk-show host Stephen Colbert's October 2005 coining of the term "truthiness" has been elevated to the US word of 2006, by Merriam-Webster.

"Truthiness" as defined by Colbert is "truth that comes from the gut, not books." :::[SMH]

"We're at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people's minds, and truth has become up for grabs," said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. "'Truthiness' is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue."

Colbert hosts 'The Colbert Report', a parody of combative, conservative talk shows, where he does a great line in global warming skepticism, the core of which is truthiness' great capacity to comfortable navigate the rocky reefs of the findings thrown up by peer-reviewed climate science.

Colbert, who once derided the people at Merriam-Webster as the "word police" and a bunch of "wordinistas," was pleased.

"Though I'm no fan of reference books and their fact-based agendas, I am a fan of anyone who chooses to honour me," he said in an email to The Associated Press.

"And what an honour," he said. "Truthiness now joins the lexicographical pantheon with words like 'squash,' 'merry,' 'crumpet,' 'the,' 'xylophone,' 'circuitous,' 'others' and others."

"Truthiness" was initially introduced by Colbert in October 2005 but took on a life of its own in May 2006, when Colbert addressed the White House Annual Press Corps dinner where he skillfully deboned a squirming Bush: :::[Colbert makes sushi meal of Bush]. This did not play well with the tame white house press audience at the time but thanks to the Internet Colbert's speaking comic power to Bush's truthiness was too much of a triumph for punters to appreciate in silence. A week after Colbert's address a rapidly deployed fan site, had recorded 50,000 heart-felt thank yous. :::[50,000 thank yous paint a picture for Bush]. In the address the largest response from an otherwise stunned audience was when Colbert satirised Bush's stance on global warming.

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