“And the Winner for 2019’s Word of the Year is…”
By: Ben Thomas
The end of the year is nigh and with it comes a litany of lists, from Spotify Wrapped’s year in review, to the best movies of 2019, to things-I-regret-doing-at-the-holiday-party. Or for the linguistically inclined, the Macquarie Dictionary’s words of the year, the terms that sum up the past year’s zeitgeist in a neat little package.
This year’s top honor was bestowed to “cancel culture”, a topic that’s as contentious as calling a two-letter phrase a “word of the year”. From op-eds and countless social media posts, to the former President weighing in, cancel culture is hotly debated. Some argue that its political correctness gone awry, an echo chamber of moralizing and a badge of “wokeness” that shuts down important conversations in lieu of having them. Others point to a movement of holding the powerful accountable for behaviors and comments that have gone unchecked for too long, predominantly through social media.
It’s a tricky topic, and part of a broader conversation which is much too complex to get into here. Whether you're Taylor Swift, James Charles or Louis CK, and whatever your personal views are on "cancel culture", its naming as word of the year shows how pervasive it's become in 2019.