festive-looking envelope found its way to my in-box this week, and the pitch on the back proclaimed that the product offered therein was, and I quote, "America's #1 Way to Eliminate Cybertrash. Cyberjunk. Cybersludge."

Of course, I assumed that someone was trying to sell me a Usenet killfile utility. No such luck. The vendor was hawking one of those uninstall-Windows-applications thingamawhatsits, which, to me at least, isn't quite so useful, since it still leaves Windows intact.

I was cranking up my pitching arm, ready to send the offending circular to the appropriate file, when it dawned on me that I was getting a glimpse of a New Jargon. "Cyberspace" itself was a reasonable coinage, its forebear "cybernetics" having been established for a good half-century or so by now, but not everything lends itself to being cyber-ed — not that anyone will be dissuaded by that simple fact.

Then again, I suppose it's a good thing we're overworking a prefix, instead of a suffix, this time. If I hear of just one more political scandal referred to as Something-gate, I swear I'm going to cyberbarf.

The Vent

26 April 1996

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 Copyright © 1996 by Charles G. Hill