Responsibly Obsolete

Jargogle, malagrugorous, jollux, frecking. Know what any of those words mean? Never fear, neither did I. They are all old English and no longer commonly used; the only place you are likely to hear them (intelligently) spoken is at a Renaissance Faire or SCA meeting.

I was interested to know if, and how often, words are removed from modern English dictionaries. When I contacted Webster about this, the person on the other end of the receiver kenched in a knowing sort of way. I asked if she could elaborate. In response she admitted to having sat in a meeting just last week to discuss the latest group of words facing extinction.

I was unsurprised to learn that responsibility was right at the top of the list.

"Yes, I knew it" I yelled after saying goodbye, thanks, and hung up the phone. I had been thinking for some time that responsibility had become not just passé, but obsolete, a forgotten word seeming to possess no meaning in this day's society. From elected officials failing to represent the many rather than the few to, yes, drivers who fail to recognize the lives of the many they share public space with.

Within just a few minutes this afternoon I read (via BikingInLa's Ted Rogers) about how a "driver in Santa Barbara bike collision may be same road raging driver who attacked cyclists", about a Kansas man who was sentenced to a "whole year for killing a cyclist he never saw because he was using cellphone GPS", of the "road raging Brit driver accused of intentionally ramming a bike rider on the sidewalk - with four kids in her car", of the Brit cyclist who caught a "driver watching a film behind the wheel", and of the "white South African men accused of dragging a black cyclist from their car."

Not a whole lot of responsibility being shown in any of those instances. Still, it would be a shame for the word to be stricken from, not only the dictionary, but common usage as well.