Hard News by Russell Brown



War as metaphor has been the keynote of the past decade, according to readers of the Public Address website -- and the Prime Minister's catch-all explanation for memory lapses, "brainfade", is the word of 2012.

"It's a keynote and a Key note, if you will," observed Public Address founder Russell Brown over lunch.

This is the seventh year that readers have discussed and voted on the Public Address Word of the Year and to mark the website's tenth birthday, a Word of the Decade was also up for grabs.

The phrase "War on ..." was proposed by reader James Butler in the discussion phase, and once the votes had been tallied it was a clear victor  over "truthiness" and "9/11".

Things were much closer in the Word of the Year 2012, where "brainfade" only just edged "Marmageddon" for the top slot. The Prime Minister proved to be a lexical wellspring, with "Planet Key" taking the bronze medal.

Reader Toby Manhire proved to have notably sharp instincts -- proposing not only "brainfade" but "9/11." Brown lauded Manhire as "too clever for his own damn good."

"But quite seriously," said Brown as he picked at his dinner, "the resonance of war-as-metaphor these past 10 years says something the global consciousness and it probably isn't something good.

"And just as you can have a war on a variety of nouns, Mr Key has shown us that he can have a brainfade about pretty  much anything -- secret jets, the drinking age and of course Germans.

"But what about twatcock?" exclaimed Brown as he hoovered up his breakfast. "A special word, please, for a special word. In decades to come, we'll be able to look back and declare that the ungendered genital insult was invented here, in 2010, by Tom Beard. I look forward to seeing it in the dictionaries."

Messrs Manhire and Butler each receive a $100 gift voucher to spend with the southern hemisphere's finest whisky shop, Whisky Galore. And a third voucher goes to Aucklander Samuel Holloway, whose name was drawn from the hundreds of readers who voted.

Word of the Decade

1. "War on ..."

2. truthiness

3. 9/11

4. twatcock

5. social media

6. blogosphere

7. GFC

8. meh

9. climate

10. blog

Word of the Year 2012

1. brainfade

2. Marmageddon

3. Planet Key

4. Gangnam Style

5. "100% Pure"

6. omnishambles

7. Dotcomnishambles

8. batshit

9. hashtag

10. YOLO

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