Saturday, September 1, 2007

Language of the age of the web and the 'net and the blog

An occasional feature. Today: the word--a verb--"pushback"; sometimes used as two separate words, "push back." As in: Joe Blow's blog today has some good pushback against Politician X's claim yesterday concerning Y.

I don't remember ever seeing "pushback" used as a verb. Until I began noticing it in the past year or two, on the web, especially on political sites or blogs. Google search: "pushback" as one word nets over 613,000 hits. As two words, it gets you over 1.7 million hits.

Why the new lingo? Changes in the language almost always tell us something larger about the culture. My guess: the opportunity for "push back" is the main benefit many see for the 'net. It gives you the chance, that is, to "push back" against ideas, politicians, parties, political opponents, whatever...that you don't like. It's a form of political combat. And almost anyone can do it. Of course, the problem is that getting shoved, and then "pushing back", in real life can lead to a genuine fistfight. No wonder many worry about the lack of civility in cyberspace.