Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The latest John Kerry blunder (and they are legion these days) brings to mind another pet peeve of mine.

Kerry's latest scandal is being called "Medalgate." Every scandal of the last 30 years has been similarly named: "Iran-gate," "Monica-gate," "Pardon-gate," etc. Of course, this is because of the Mother Of All Scandals, Richard Nixon's Watergate affair, which brought down his presidency nearly 30 years ago.

That scandal was named after the break-in that occured at Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. Though the Nixon administration was actually brought down by a myriad of events, the name "Watergate" was adopted as a shorthand to denote the whole complex of scandalous activity that took place.

Now to the peeve: that scandal was not about water! It was not an aquatic scandal in any sense. It was entirely devoid of H2O. It was utterly sans moisture. "Watergate" was the name of the hotel. It makes absolutely zero sense to adopt the suffix "-gate" for every scandal that comes along; it would be as ridiculous as tacking the prefix "-water" onto every scandal.

Try these on for size:


Stupid, right? Well, no more stupid then using "-gate" to symbolize any sort of scandal.

Really, the whole thing is probably nothing more than a subset of the "shopaholic" error.

See, "-aholic" does not mean "addicted to." Only the "-ic" part means "addicted to." The "-ahol-" part is merely part of the word "alcohol," and has nothing in and of itself to do with addiction. Thus, if one addicted to alcohol is an "alcoholic," then one addicted to shopping should merely be a "shopic," not a "shopaholic."

Same with "chocoholic," "sexaholic," and "workaholic." They are stealing from the word "alcohol," yet are not alcohol-related addictions. Something must be done about it, and I shan't rest until it is.

Which reminds me. Shouldn't "shan't" also have an apostrophe before the "n"? Two "L"s have been removed there with nothing to show for it. I have to go take my medicine now...

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