Word Watch -- December 1996
Israelize verb, to render (a nation and its people) security-conscious through repeated terrorist attacks: "Israeli experts have begun talking about the need for American society to become more 'Israelized,' and say U.S. resistance to tough [security] moves will eventually fade" (Wall Street Journal).
BACKGROUND: The citation above, from last August, marks the first appearance of this sense of this verb in a general media source; the reference was prompted by the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta Centennial Park bombings. Other terms that are emerging from the lexicon of counterterrorism include taggant and idle package. Taggants are color-coded plastic microscopic identifiers that enable authorities to trace explosives back to the retailer; they have been used in Switzerland for more than a decade, and their use is being considered with increasing interest in the United States. An idle package is a parcel that has been left unattended -- but is no longer ignored by house or security staff members -- in a public place such as a hotel lobby or an airport.
BACKGROUND: This term recalls one discussed in Word Watch a decade ago: silver colonies, overseas retirement communities intended for Japanese senior citizens, whose numbers were then already rising. In China nursing homes are virtually nonexistent. Few younger Chinese today wish to spend their time and money caring for their elders, though; the result is the widespread abandonment of seniors, who are taken in at collection centers for the homeless. In Japan a related term, final care, has recently surfaced: "Before, when parents got sick, it was the job of the [eldest son's wife] to do the 'final care' for her in-laws" (Washington Post). Now that it is no longer common for Japanese parents and grown children to live together in one household, however, and many women hold jobs, some women are going against tradition by refusing to do final care for their in-laws and even for their own parents.
BACKGROUND: According to an Army major interviewed by the Post who regularly picks up slugs, "Slugs are not allowed to speak unless spoken to because they're outsiders. . . . They're there for a free ride. They can't make any demand to turn the heat up or music down. They're in no position to demand. "This urban-dialect appropriation of slug may hark back to the word's history as a printing term -- "a piece of type for temporary use" -- or it may come from other definitions, referring to a slow-moving gastropod and to a lazy, slothful person.
fiction was first identified three years ago by the critic Michael
Silverblatt, in an essay in the Los Angeles Times. It has its roots
in the works of such authors as William Burroughs and the Marquis de Sade;
its practitioners include Dennis Cooper (the author of Try, a novel
whose protagonist is a sexually abused teenager with a heroin-addicted
friend and an uncle who makes pornographic videos) and Gary Indiana (who
wrote Gone Tomorrow, which centers on the pre-AIDS gay milieu). The
genre has a number of distinctive visual signatures, including undersized
formats, whole texts set in italics, and funky cover designs.
Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; December 1996; Word Watch; Volume 278, No. 6; page 128.