GOOD

Celebu-word-palooza!

Dissecting a symptom of our twisted tabloid culture Infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous? Then you're probably familiar with (or even use) words like, Brangelina, baby bump, and canoodle. In fact, if you supplement your People and Us Weekly subscriptions with the gossip blogs, you've likely..


Dissecting a symptom of our twisted tabloid culture

Infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous? Then you're probably familiar with (or even use) words like, Brangelina, baby bump, and canoodle. In fact, if you supplement your People and Us Weekly subscriptions with the gossip blogs, you've likely added celebudrunk, celebu-menace, celebumoron, celebu-shambles, celebu-trainwreck, and celebu-whatever to your vocabulary, too. Since 2003, this newer group of cute and cutting terms has become as inseparable from fame as paparazzi flashbulbs.The prominence of celebu- is more than an unholy union of tabloidism and wordplay; it's the subject of academic study. David West Brown, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, tackled the phenomenon this fall in the linguistics journal American Speech. His paper, "Paris Hilton, Brenda Frazier, Blogs, and the Proliferation of celebu-", looks at how the fertile, funny, and vicious blogosphere nurtured a prefix that follows celebs around like a purse-sized pooch-though with considerably less loyalty and love. (Full disclosure: I did some word-gathering for Brown as part of this study--proving that even though I strive to keep my academic snorkel dry, I can't entirely resist the scholarly seas).So how did the celebupalooza start? At first, celebugossip and celebubot puzzled word-watchers. Why not celebrigossip and celebribot? That u was a mystery, until linguist and Visual Thesaurus czar Ben Zimmer pointed out that celebutante-recently popular, but dating back to 1939-is the primordial predecessor of this prolific prefix.Brown writes that celebutante gained some prominence in the '80s, in reference to club-kid culture, before spiking in popularity in 2003 and 2004, as the escapades of Paris Hilton and co. became more popular than sunshine and food. As celebutante spread, celebu- took on a life of its own, spawning hundreds of short-lived words and a few with staying power (see: the perfect storm of tastelessness that is celebutard.)The natural habitat of celebuwords is blogs, message boards, and other webby environs. Brown sees several reasons for bloggy creativity in coining words, which include "minimal institutional intrusion" and "emphasis on individualism and personal voice." In other words, with no big brother reading over our shoulder, our inner child is free to use the weirdest and wildest Crayolas in the box; we can actually call the Golden Celebutwit Triumvirate-Britney, Lindsay, and Paris, for the celebu-impaired-the Golden Celebutwit Triumvirate.Speaking of the names used to refer to Hilton and her ilk-celebuturd, celebubrat, and celebu-ex-con are a few of the nicer ones-there is something about this trend that bugs: I like nonce words more than any man should, but terms like celebuslut and celebutramp ping my sexism-dar with all the subtlety of a falling boulder.But can a prefix really be sexist? Or did I put too much crack on my cornflakes again? Brown says celebu- has a couple meanings: "You can have a celebuhouse, celebucar, or celebudog," he explains, "and those things could be simply be associated with fame, neither male nor female, neither for better nor for worse." The other meaning, he points out, is "decidedly gendered in its application (primarily to young, famous women) and can be pejorative, sometimes ugly in the coinages it spawns."Of course, on a list of misogynist atrocities, unequal prefix use wouldn't crack the top 800. But it doesn't take a women's studies major to look at our fascination with celebubabes behaving like celebufreaks and see that something's a little off in our treatment of women. Mocking celebrities is as American as eating an entire bag of gummy bears in one sitting, but let's be fair in how we make fun of the rich and noxious.Don't let the nastiest celebumales of our time off the hook. Let's broaden this term. Let's dude it up. We can fight for gender equality and make up ridiculous words at the same time! It shouldn't be hard to find celebuwhackos and celebuboneheads aplenty in the gene pool's Y-chromosomed half.Suggestions, please? (Note: Bonus points will be awarded for celebu-names that don't involve Tom Cruise-as in the Olympics, degree of difficulty counts).(Photo from Flickr user Sebastian Fritzon)
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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

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Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

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Low-flow shower head

Speakman

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Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

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Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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