Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Guru" - welcome to buzzword heaven

Just when I write a post (yesterday) about the infelicitous term "journo-guru," comes an even more egregious misuse of the term "guru." Hardly have we gotten by Newsweek's printing a story (and I use that term in its definition as "fib") seriously considering "Is Obama the Antichrist?" (prompting some intelligent people to cancel their subscription) than we move on to stupidity and word misuse.

Now, I understand that this article was written by the Associated Press, but some editor at Newsweek felt it was worth posting on their website. (By the way, I generally only link to things that I want you to go look at for some reason, Gentle Reader, but, in this case, I'll make an exception - feel free to ignore this piece of "journalism.") In it, we get the reaction of the AP's "panel of baby-name gurus" to the naming of the new child of the "pop-rock power couple," Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz. This child will be called Bronx Mowgli Wentz (no comment needed).

There's a lot wrong with the preceding two sentences, but I want to know what a "baby-name guru" is. Because a "guru" is a spiritual teacher, and I don't see how these experts, people who make their money consulting to gullible couples on the best name for baby, could possibly be seen, other than in their own fantasies, as spiritual teachers. (By the way, anyone who wants to contend that the Web is an unalloyed positive needs only consider the power it gives these hucksters to extend their money-making enterprises.)

Should we really wonder that the rest of the world will rejoice when our excess wealth is pared away, leaving (one can hope) no extra money for hiring baby-name gurus?

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