Wednesday Words: Hate-watchers, Mashup Culture and More

NewsFeed's weekly highlight of our vocabulary includes useful, new, hilarious and surprising words (as well as some that are just fun to roll off the old tongue).

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David McGlynn

hate-watch (v.): to view something, particularly a television program, with the intention of disliking and criticizing it. In a Guardian article, Gwilym Mumford presents a playful guide to hate-watching and emphasizes that this is a pastime built around social media sites, where haters can swap catty insights in real time. Our advice: There’s TLC for beginners, Aaron Sorkin for intermediate haters and Mad Men for the wildly ambitious.

maturing society (n.): a body of individuals that has evolving moral standards. This label, used in a 1958 legal opinion by Chief Justice Earl Warren, was invoked by pundits and judges this week when the Supreme Court ruled against mandatory sentences of life without parole for minors. This bit of legalese can be used to softly chide our past, suggesting that punishments our forefathers might have used would be “cruel and unusual” now.

(MORE: No Automatic Life Without Parole For Kids)

drift (v., slang): in finance, a hedge fund manager straying from his or her stated investment strategy. Forbes‘ Judy Gross reports that drifting is getting increasing attention from litigators and regulators. Fund managers used to get away with fancy, vague strategy outlines that protected them from such accusations, she says, but that era is coming to an end. Hey, it’s no Fast & Furious sequel, but a useful word nonetheless.

mashup culture (n.): a society in which new works are created through the editing or combining of older works; also remix culture. The Washington Post‘s Dominic Basulto explores the controversial rise of the remix. For some, mashups are thoughtful, inevitable reflections of our pixelated lives; for others, they’re sad imitations of creativity. But however pathetic one might find Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, it’s hard not to appreciate a painstaking remix like Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”–a video that syncs every minute of the day with that corresponding time in a movie.

gamification (n.):  the use of game design in non-traditional environments, such as websites or cars. Gamification is a modern manifestation of old advice: a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The Huffington Post reports on “nanobots” used to make health information less nap-inducing. Mashable meanwhile explains how driving is becoming a “badge”-winning endeavor. The car companies’ gamification is ostensibly an attempt to make drivers more gas-conscious but is also meant to suit our modern tastes. (Because, as Louis C.K. might say, the miracle of being whisked from place to place with a tap of the toe simply isn’t enough anymore.)

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