Just don’t call it suffixgate

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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16th May, 2013 Leave a Comment

The Watergate hotel complex in Washington, DC.

Whatever you call it, don’t call it suffixgate.

The great journalistic scandal-naming cliche continues to run wild, reports the BBC News Magazine.

An unlikely idiomatic legacy of the hotel complex Watergate, site of the burglary that did for Richard Nixon, -gate has become almost ubiquitous.

Wikipedia has a list of just some of the –gates here.

One of the chief culprits was Nixon speechwriter turned New York Times columnist William Safire, who “created a trend by coining at least 20 -gates – some say as a way of undermining criticism of his former boss”.

These days it’s often used with tongue in cheek, such as in the recent Aaron Gilmore inspired “Waitergate”, and a UK scandal in which an MP harangued a policeman over a parliamentary fence: “Gategate”.

But while these may be forgiven, the wider spread must stop, commentator John Rentoul tells the BBC.

I have no objection to its use among consenting adult journalists in conversation, but using it in print just betrays a lack of imagination.

But the complaint is perhaps best made by David Mitchell and Robert Webb …

 

And now that’s sorted, can we talk about adding “-oholic” to describe addiction. That “ohol” belongs to alcohol. So it should just be, for example, a “workic”. OK?

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