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Opinion

December 30, 2013

2013: A year to 'twerk' your 'selfie'

(Continued)

Lean In: It’s not just good advice to near-sighted desktop computer programmers anymore. As a recent episode of the FX sitcom “The League” put it, “lean in” is “the white collar version of ‘Git-R-Done,’ “ Larry the Cable Guy’s famous slogan.

“Lean In” became a clarion call to upwardly ambitious professional women after Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller by that title. A decade after rapper Fat Joe’s 2004 hit “Lean Back,” it’s time to change direction.

Selfie. Oxford Dictionaries’ international Word of the Year, beating out “twerk” and “binge-watch.” Its usage this year received a boost from Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s celebrated selfie with President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the memorial for Nelson Mandela.

The captured moment set tongues to wagging on this side of the Big Pond, mostly along the usual partisan lines. Free of its context and unfettered by actual reporting, a picture is worth 10,000 speculations.

Twerk: A booty-shaking dance move of uncertain origin that evolved through hip-hop culture. It erupted into the mainstream when Miley Cyrus alarmed parents by backin-that-thang-up on Robin Thicke during MTV’s video awards show. Purists sniffed that Cyrus is to fine art of the twerk what Pat Boone was to rhythm-and-blues or, for you youngsters, what Sen. Ted Cruz brought to “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Vape. A chic new verb for the act of sucking on electronic cigarettes, which deliver vaporized nicotine instead of tobacco smoke. Intended to wean smokers off of their expensive cigarette habits, it offers an expensive nicotine habit.

Young Invincibles. Young adults aged 18 to 34 upon whom the Affordable Care Act relies to help pick up the cost of the health insurance program. Trouble is, young people are the least likely to comprehend why they will ever, ever need it, even as they face looming threats of fatbergs, affluenza, a bitcoin crash and — watch for it — scientific studies on the dangers of secondary vaping.

E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@tribune.com.

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