Saratoga City Council to vote on 'Word Ban' ordinance

By Dodie Fingerton

Published May 24th, 2015

Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two city residents may face fines and jail time if their inappropriate use of certain words continues.

The City Council is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal that would prohibit Kyle Nag, 32, of Horsie Street, from using the fashionable term “meta” to describe things.

“For the sake of those of us who have to deal with Kyle on a daily basis, this law needs to pass,” said Dan Steed, founder of the civic group “Stop Kyle Nag From Using The Word ‘Meta.’”

“He uses it to describe literally everything... even things that aren't 'meta.' It's literally the most annoying thing ever.”

The second ordinance, meanwhile, would impose penalties on Steed for his habitual abuse of the word “literally.” That measure was proposed by none other than Nag, deputy director of the “The Stop Dan Steed From Using The Word ‘Literally’ To Describe Literally Everything Project.”

“If you think about it, the whole thing's kind of meta,” said Nag. “He doesn't like what I'm saying and I don't like what he's saying. It's totally meta.”

Violation of either ordinance, should both pass, would result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail term of up to 15 days.

SUNY Cropseyville English Professor W. Terrance Budge said he's in favor both measures.

“Since 'meta' is defined as 'referring to itself or the conventions of its genre, or self-referential,' it's apparent to me that Mr. Nag is simply using a word that he thinks is cool, without any regard for its meaning,” said Budge. “On the other hand, when Mr. Nag was asked to describe the taste of Stewart's ice cream, he replied 'creamy, sweet and delicious.' This, in my opinion, hurts Mr. Steed's argument that Mr. Nag describes 'literally' everything as 'meta.' That's simply not true.”

Though uncommon, precedents concerning specific citizens and their prolonged molestation of the English language do exist.

In 1997, Canadian parliament voted unanimously on a law to ban Alanis Morissette from using the word “Ironic.” Her song of the same name — which was basically a run-through of non-ironic situations that the Ottawa-born songstress mistakenly deemed ironic — was subsequently retitled:

“Isn't it a Bummer?”

The court overturned the decision in 2002, after Morissette's lawyer, J. Kirchman Boot, argued the ultimate irony lie not with his client’s abject grasp of terminology, but rather with her uncanny ability to manufacture a certified-gold hit single out of it.


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