can’t see the forest

McLexical Disagreements

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Couldn’t pass this one up, sorry. It seems that McDonald’s is launching a campaign to have the word McJob (n.) removed from dictionaries, including Mirriam-Webster’s and the venerable don of dictionaries, the Oxford English.

Germany’s Der Spiegel reports:

It’s a bit of job-seeking advice that parents have been dishing out to their aimless, unskilled, post-high school offspring for decades: You can always work at McDonald’s.

And many have taken that advice. It is estimated that fully one out of every eight workers in the United States has put in stints behind the counters of the fast-food McGiant. Most of them have been eager to leave as quickly as possible. Low pay, poor prestige, and less-than-haute cuisine combine to make the job of a burger flipper McSpurned.

But at least the job shouldn’t be denigrated in the English language as well. McDonald’s Corp. on Tuesday restarted its push to get the word “McJob” removed from dictionaries — and has set its sights on the gold standard of lexicons, the Oxford English Dictionary.

From the point of view of the fast-food proletariat, the reason for the McLanguage offensive is clear: The word McJob, as the OED definition makes clear, is “depreciative.” It goes on to define the term as: “An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.” It found its way into the dictionary in March 2001, 15 years after it was apparently coined by the Washington Post.

“Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And in this case, they got it completely wrong,” Walt Riker, a Mickey D’s McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. “It’s a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that’s been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years.

This guy really doesn’t get it, does he? Is it just me, or does referring to McDonald’s as a “jobs and opportunity machine” rather reinforce the lexicographers’ point?

Speaking of McDonald’s and Germany—just in passing—I remember being surprised to find that a Heidelberg franchise served its french fries with sporks and with mayonnaise on the side. McBier and McSushi were also on the menu there.

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One Response

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  1. raincoaster said, on 4/4/07 at 4:19 am

    Alert me when they’re getting rid of dead-end, repetitive, stressful and debilitating low-wage jobs instead of just the word for them.


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