If you aren’t familiar with Carleton College — a small, selective, liberal arts school located in Northfield, Minnesota — you will be soon. In April, Carleton became the first college in the nation to ban use of the words “awesome” and “super” on its campus.
According to Carleton President Steven Poskanzer, “the over-utilization of these two words by our students had gotten to the point where talking with them was like having knitting needles jabbed into your brain stem. It was that painful. The term ‘awesome’ should be reserved for things like the Grand Canyon and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, rather than being hijacked to describe an order of curly fries at Wendy’s or a cell-phone photo of half-price tickets to a Led Zeppelin cover-band concert at a roller rink in Minneapolis.
“And don’t get me started on ‘super’. Everything these days is ‘super’ this or ‘super’ that. ‘I’m super-excited to meet you, President Poskanzer!’ Or, ‘The chili dog I had at that awesome Led Zeppelin cover-band concert last night was super-tasty!’
“Whenever I hear sentences like these, all I can think is: Kill. Me. Now.”
A $3 fine will be imposed every time a student utters one of the prohibited words, with the amount automatically charged to the student’s account in the Bursar’s Office, a procedure similar to the way that library fines and parking tickets are handled. Students with outstanding balances will not be allowed to graduate.
“We just had to do something,” the President asserted. “This is not a case of stifling free speech. It’s simply our long-overdue attempt to counteract lazy, mind-numbingly unimaginative speech.”
Is Poskanzer afraid that Carleton will be sued by angry student groups? “Bring it on,” he exclaimed. “We’re just getting started. Next year we’re expanding the No-Say List to include annoying phrases, not just individual words. Take heed, ‘No Problem’ and ‘Lived Experience’. Your days are numbered. We’re coming for you.”