Although 14 days into 2011, we are still dealing with the residual effects of the barrage of best/worst-of-the-year lists. It's slightly old news, but Galley Cat reported today the American Dialect Society's 2010 word of the year selection, which the group announced Jan. 7. The winner was "app," which beat out the even more insufferable "nom" (the term lolcats and humans of comparable intelligence use for tasty food items). But most notably, there's a new Fan Words category, and it includes "Yat Dat." Is that even a thing?
"Gleek" — the really disgusting word for fans of that TV show your teenage sister and the office manager at your mom's job is always talking about — was the winner in the category with a remarkable 90 votes. "Yat Dat," defined as "a native-born fan of the New Orleans Saints" came in second place with 14 votes. Also in the category: "little monster" (the Lady Gaga-coined term for her fans), "belieber" (one who sends Twitter death threats to Selena Gomez) and "Twihard" (ugh).
I'm not the craziest Saints fan. I mean, I occasionally find myself yelling at the television during a game, and I will sometimes watch a game at the bar or at a friend's house (but mostly because of the high probability of Popeye's fried chicken), but I'm not gonna shoot out my TV or anything. So perhaps it's because I'm ignorant to much of Saints culture, but I have never heard "Yat Dat" used before. If it's not something that's actually used, this wouldn't be the first time someone incorrectly imposed a term (or incorrectly punctuated a term) when writing about our crazy ol' "Yat Dat" nation. But even if it's wrong, it's kind of crazy that Saints speak has entered into the national lexicon along with Twitter-propagated neologisms like "gleek" and "little monsters," huh?
While we're on the topic of Saints-related terminology, let us take this opportunity — in light of a humbling, non-Superbowl-winning Saints season — to reflect on other Datisms that have arisen in the past year, and maybe think of eliminating them for subsequent seasons: First, "We Dat," which I've seen in so many bumper stickers and Facebook statuses. That makes absolutely no sense. If the origin of "Who Dat" is the chant "Who dat sayin' they gonna beat them Saints," then you are saying "we are the ones who are going to be the Saints!" No. I've also seen "Oui Dat," which does honor our French heritage but is still pas droit (yes dat?).
Second, it is not always appropriate to shout "Who Dat" while in a crowd, hoping to be that hero who gets the chant going. At a Saints game? Yes, that's the perfect place! While drunk on the neutral ground as Bacchus rolls by? Sure! At a Hornets game? Ehh, why not?! While in the audience at One Eyed Jacks while a national touring band is in between songs? Uh, maybe not so much. There's a time and a place for that.
Thirdly, maybe consider removing "WhoDat" as your middle name on Facebook. It just looks silly.
Anyway, it still is nice to get some recognition from the important-sounding American Dialect Society. But what's the verdict on "Yat Dat": dat's right or dat's wrong?
Go here for the entire American Dialect Society press release on the words of the year.