“Fake” is Most Fitting Adjective For 2016
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word of the year for 2016 is “post-truth.” Merriam-Webster goes a little more out there with “surreal.” Both are pretty good choices for all the weird things that we have seen over the last 12 months. However, I’d like to offer a much more simple four-letter choice for the top adjective of 2016: “fake.”
The popularity of fake news was one of the factors in deciding the November 8 election. The f-word has also come into play in discrediting one of the tech industry’s most buzzed-about technologies: the immensely-funded mixed-reality startup Magic Leap. And don’t forget Theranos, which emerged as the poster-child for fake science (although, as Recode points out, much more well-established companies are also engaging in this practice).
Monday, December 19 likely sees Donald Trump win a fake landslide in the Electoral College. Losing the popular vote by a staggering 2.8 million ballots means that his overall popularity is another casualty of the f-word. That most of his Cabinet choices are aligned with departments they have no qualifications serving means that they too are completely fake. The word also describes Trump’s unpresidented attention to basic proofreading skills.
This depressing list could go on and on — but why belabor the obvious? The more important concern is preventing the popularity of this adjective in the future. Get rid of the fake by refusing to accept any supposed realities that aren’t thoroughly questioned, investigated and fact-checked. Let’s make “conscious skepticism” the top phrase of 2017.
Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.