Kyle Gann posted this note on his blog, PostClassic:

Thank You, Sarah Palin

We in American music owe a great debt to John McCain and Sarah Palin. Those two have so cheapened and tainted the word “maverick” that it will be at least a generation, maybe two, before anyone will be able to use the word non-ironically again. And that means, surely, that there will be no more talk about the “American maverick composers.”

As I’ve written here before, the musicological purpose of the word “maverick” is to legitimize certain handpicked composers despite the unconventionality (as compared with alleged European norms) of their composing methods, and to do so without de-marginalizing all the other composers who share those methods. What we need is for the methods themselves to be legitimized, so that a true pluralism of aesthetics can be accepted into discourse. The “maverick” image of Cage, Nancarrow, Lou Harrison, La Monte Young as lone dissenters – composers who, after all, had teachers, friends, students, protégés with whom they shared ideas and developed their creativity collectively – was always a palpable fiction. And no one who watched Palin vacuously self-identify as a maverick at the end of the vice-presidential debate will ever be able to use the word seriously again, thank god.

“Maverick musicians” isn’t the only term that may be taken out of circulation. With only a few days to go, there are a few others with limited lifespans:

“my friends” (although better than “my fellow prisoners”)
mavericky (thank you Tina Fey and Seth Myers)
socialist (that’s so last century)
“spreading the wealth”
folkisms like betcha, doncha, gosh darn it
children’s names that are better suited for pets
“verbage” (not a real word, but conveniently rhymes with garbage…)
“community organizer” sneeringly used as a pejorative
hockey mom
lipstick (on anything untoward)

Others?

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