Letter to the Editor: NAAA, Now!
We need to curb the development of new acronyms.
The apparent human need to name things has marked us early on. Familiar objects in every language: mother, kiss, tree, etc. gain immortality through naming.
As society has become more complex, group and corporate, the mere naming of something has been augmented by choosing names for human constructs that are acronyms or abbreviations. Confusion increased thereafter.
This unhealthy phenomenon seemed to gain favor in the ‘30s. New governmental programs, at that time, were a welcome response to the desperation and poverty of the Great Depression. Social Security (SS), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA) became known by their abbreviations. As this tendency broadened, abbreviations were succeeded by acronym/words, both in the private world and government. Who can forget President Gerald Ford’s Whip Inflation Now! (WIN!) or the National Organization of Women! (NOW!). Entities also began to adopt previously meaningless, yet sometimes pronounceable words as their names (EXXON, XEROX) . Most recently, entire phrases have become acronyms. Further descent into the maelstrom of confusion has occurred when these phrases have multiple meanings. Most egregious in this regard has been ‘LOL’. Depending upon the speaker, this can mean ‘laugh out loud’ or ‘lots of love’. No instructions are given as to how to determine which is which (WIW).
At this rate, all human communication may soon be in acronyms, with an occasional verb or preposition added for substance. We all know WIN! was able to beat the scourge of higher prices with the help of XEROX, NOW! and SS. LOL.
This all …including this discussion, can only be stopped by a concerted effort by ALL Americans and the foreign-born. The immediate and permanent formation of the National Association Against Acronyms, Not Over Words! (NAAA, NOW!) should be congressionally chartered and authorized by the states to embrace the worthy goal of eradicating the demise of our languages.