Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

Get my RSS |

The 39 Worst Words, Phrases, and Parts of Speech of 2013

| Fri Dec. 27, 2013 7:00 AM EST

Many words were spoken in 2013. Not all of them were created equal. Here is a brief, but by no means complete, guide to the words and phrases (and symbols, and parts of speech) we'd like to retire in 2014.

Please print this out and post it to your refrigerator or cubicle wall for convenient access.

  • "#." R.I.P., early Twitter feature. We'll bury you next to your friend, the FourSquare check-in.
  • adverbs. Ban all adverbs. They're mostly just gulp words, really.
  • "all the things."
  • "because [noun]": (e.g. "because science.")
  • "brogurt." No.
  • "classy."
  • "controversial tweet." There's just no way to make this sound dignified, and besides, it leads to think pieces.
  • "cronut."
  • "crowdsourced."
  • "derp." It's been an emotional ride, but it's time to send this one off on the ice floe.
  • "disrupt." Luxury car apps aren't disruptive.
  • "Donald Trump is considering a run for…" No, he's not. He just isn't. And if you'd like to get him unearned publicity, you should at least get some stock options out of it.
  • "doubled down." Unless the candidate did it while biting into a delicious sandwich, let's just say the candidate "reaffirmed his/her position" on transportation funding or burrito drones or whatever we'll be discussing in 2014.
  • "...favorited a tweet you were mentioned in." No one has ever wanted to know this.
  • "gaffe." It's going to be a long-enough election year as it is.
  • "game-changer." What you're describing probably won't change the game. But if it does, would you want to spoil the moment with a cliche?
  • "Guy Fieri." What if we all decided to just never mention him again? Would he disappear?
  • "hashtag." This refers to the spoken utterance of the word "hashtag," often accompanied by air-quotes. People can see you doing this.
  • "hipster." Wearing glasses is not something people do because they're hipsters; it's something people do because they're nearsighted. People don't drink hot chocolate because it's a hipster thing to do; they drink hot chocolate because it's literally liquid chocolate. Yes, I wrote "literally." That's what happens when you use a word so casually and carelessly in think pieces as to render it meaningless.
  • "I can't even." You can. Dig deep. Find your Kentucky.
  • "impact." (When used as a verb.)
  • "…in .gifs."
  • "...in one chart." We're aiming high in 2014. Two chart minimum!
  • "listicle." This is the last one.
  • "literally the worst." Actually, while we're at it, let's ban "literally." Literally is the "not the Onion" of fake things.
  • "millennial." Young people are living with their parents because their parents' generation destroyed the global economy. Next.
  • "nondescript office park." As opposed to the Frank Gehry ones.
  • "not the Onion."
  • "Rethuglicans, Repugs," "Republikkkans," "Demoncrats," "Dumbocrats," and every other variation thereof. Please just use the normal proper nouns; you can add whatever modifier you like before or after.
  • "selfie." But what do they tell us about our society, in the digital now? Let's ask James Franco.
  • "Snowfall." (In the future, a high-cost digital production that doesn't live up to the hype shall be known as a "Skyfall.")
  • "the Internets." This was a George W. Bush joke or something, right? You can still use the Internet—just drop the "s."
  • "This Town."
  • "thought leader." Mostly beaten out of existence, but don't think we didn't notice that Paul Allen interview, Wired. You're on notice.
  • #YOLO. Seriously.

I am guilty of most of these sins. Let us never speak of this again.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Grand Old Pajama Party: Pictures of Conservatives in Their Jam-Jams

| Thu Dec. 19, 2013 1:15 PM EST

On Tuesday, Organizing for Action, a remnant of Barack Obama's re-election campaign that has been re-purposed to promote the president's agenda, asked its followers to sign up for health insurance over the holidays. The group's pitch featured a bespectacled twentysomething male in pajamas, drinking hot chocolate. On the right, "Pajama Boy" quickly became a meme. At last, conservatives had an opportunity to dismiss political opponents as jobless, lazy, unsexed hippies.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie demanded that the stock image get dressed and do some community service. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman chimed in, too. Pajama Boy is a "vaguely androgynous, student-glasses-wearing, Williamsburg hipster" and "the Obama machine's id" (National Review's Charles Cooke); an "insufferable man-child" and a consequence of the "breakdown of marriage and its drift into the 30s" (Politico Magazine's Rich Lowry); and a representative of "effete, cosmopolitan America" (The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis.) Holy stock photo, Batman!

But a Mother Jones investigation discovered something unsettling. Far from being a divisive cultural wedge issue, pajamas are a normal item of clothing that normal adults wear. Even Republican presidents. The pajamas are coming from inside the White House!

Former President Ronald Reagan:

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

 

Former president Gerald Ford:

Gerald Ford Presidential Library

 

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas):

 

Former president George H.W. Bush:

 

Former President Abraham Lincoln:

David Gilmour Blythe

 

Former President Ronald Reagan (again):

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

 

Daily Caller editor in chief Tucker Carlson:

In their defense, pajamas are hella comfortable.

Now Scammers are Trying to Make Money off Mandela's Death

| Thu Dec. 19, 2013 7:00 AM EST

It's officially a tradition: When something bad happens to the international community, email scammers attempt to exploit it. There was Hurricane Katrina. There was the 2005 tsunami. There was the Haiti earthquake. And now there's Nelson Mandela's death. Here's an email Mother Jones received from an emailer purporting to represent the late South African president's charitable organization, the Nelson Mandela Foundation:

Good Day,

I hope my mail finds you well. This is my second email to you without any
response. I am Maeline Engelbrecht Nelson Manuela's Donor relations manager. For
couple of years we have been in a global approach in fighting the pandemic, and
emphasizes the importance of strengthening relationships with UNICEF, Save the
Children Fund and other governments. Giving Aids to orphans. In 2002 the Fund
raised 34-million Dollar through donations, programmed funding and fundraising
initiatives locally and internationally. The continual growth of the Fund has
led to the establishment of offices in the United Kingdom, United States,
France, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada and now Spain. For more details you
can read from the link below, although, there are a lot of reforms for security
purposes.
http://www.southafrica.info/mandela/mandelachildrensfund.htm#.UO5dq1LEPMw

OR

http://www.looktothestars.org/charity/nelson-mandela-foundation

Due to deteriorating situation of Mandalas' health, He has suggested that the
fund allocated to his organization from the UK Based Anglo American mining
Company should be directed to a responsible and a reliable hand not here in
South African but other country as well, as this is one of his struggles in
life. On this basis I have contacted you for assistance to have it operated and
monitored by you in your country. Please We have created a good reputation in
the past and would not want anything to dent our image so if you cannot handle
this foundation in your country I suggest you ignore the email. On the contrary
get back to us for a way forward.

Please Reply us here:nelsonmandelaf@safrica.com  OR
maelineengelbrecht@hotmail.com

Regards
Maeline Engelbrecht
Mandela's Donor relations manager"

This isn't the first time a scammer has attempted to use the name Engelbrecht—who left the foundation in 2008—to make money off of Mandela. In January, the Nelson Mandela Foundation published a warning about a nearly identical email: "Any such messages received should be viewed as fraudulent and reported to the Centre of Memory."

Don't get scammed, kids.

Wed Dec. 15, 2010 4:41 PM EST
Wed Dec. 15, 2010 9:00 AM EST
Fri Dec. 10, 2010 7:00 AM EST
Mon Nov. 29, 2010 3:35 PM EST
Mon Nov. 29, 2010 7:35 AM EST
Sun Nov. 28, 2010 12:29 PM EST
Wed Nov. 24, 2010 12:28 PM EST
Fri Nov. 19, 2010 8:30 PM EST
Fri Nov. 19, 2010 2:44 PM EST
Thu Nov. 18, 2010 3:18 PM EST
Wed Nov. 10, 2010 7:00 AM EST
Wed Nov. 3, 2010 1:51 AM EDT
Sat Oct. 30, 2010 6:47 PM EDT
Fri Oct. 29, 2010 1:21 PM EDT
Tue Oct. 26, 2010 8:00 AM EDT
Fri Oct. 22, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Wed Oct. 20, 2010 8:03 AM EDT
Wed Oct. 20, 2010 7:00 AM EDT
Sat Oct. 9, 2010 2:00 PM EDT
Fri Oct. 8, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Tue Oct. 5, 2010 10:29 PM EDT
Mon Oct. 4, 2010 2:32 PM EDT
Mon Oct. 4, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Sun Oct. 3, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 29, 2010 12:30 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 27, 2010 5:36 PM EDT
Sat Sep. 25, 2010 1:14 AM EDT
Thu Sep. 23, 2010 10:26 PM EDT
Thu Sep. 23, 2010 3:59 PM EDT
Tue Sep. 21, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 20, 2010 2:47 PM EDT
Sun Sep. 19, 2010 11:18 PM EDT
Sun Sep. 19, 2010 6:07 PM EDT
Wed Sep. 15, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Tue Sep. 14, 2010 2:59 PM EDT
Mon Sep. 13, 2010 6:40 PM EDT