My initial reaction to the announcement that Oxford Dictionaries US had chosen gif as a verb as its 2012 word of the year was one of underwhelmtion. Previous winners of the American Dialect Society’s WOTY have been occupy, app, and tweet, which seem to encapsulate the trends of a whole year more completely than gif does, which I initially felt only represented a small corner of the internet.
…but then I thought about it.
2012 is the first year that I’ve ever been in a gif. I’ve been giffed! I was roped into this gif, peer pressured by the enthusiasm of 4 ladies with dialects different from my own. Oh the foreign lifestyle! Being swayed by someone’s argument based solely on their vowels… So yeah basically I’m in this dumb gif where we’re trying to have attitude and be sassy with snapping, but just looks silly. I don’t know how they got me to be in the front of the group, but there I am.
2012 is also the year that I decided to join tumblr. My tumblr is rarely updated, and I only follow blogs that feature superhero sketches, pandas, and communist propaganda. (Shocking, I know). I joined because I wanted to ask someone a question on tumblr, and that is only possible with a tumblr account. Gifs run rampant there: the Doctor’s smirks can be infinitely replayed, the moment before a kiss can be analyzed in depth by someone heartbroken at the end of Klaine, and corgis show their little bellies over and over.
Gif 2: During the great dissertation discombobulation, I had a secret romp around Fairhurst one night when I realized I was the only human in the whole building. I ran and jumped and jumped and ran, then I claimed the land of comfy square chairs as my own. I always meant to convert it into a gif, but I’ve only done it now, for this post:
See how I say convert it into a gif instead of gif it? I do live on the internet, but my neighborhood has never been full of gif-making fangirls until this year. I was quite active on the QI forums for a while, but that’s not really a fandom that people tend to ship. That magnifying glass and lowercase i from the QI logo are my OTP. Not so much.
One more gif for 2012:
In York, one of my friends was a Trinidadian Cognitive Neuroscientist. For her team’s project, she needed subjects to lay in an MRI to test if a new expensive type of coil was worth the cost. For my troubles, I was given a CD of 38 images of my head, as seen from the top. I volunteered because I wanted to familiarize myself with an MRI, but also because they said if they found anything odd, they were required to forward my images to a doctor. Happily, we can now confirm that I have a brain and that it’s fairly normal. It’s left-hand oriented, so it’s not a good control subject, but I’ve got a brain and it looks like that.
So 2012 has been my year of introduction to gifs. I don’t feel comfortable using gif as a verb yet, but I bet if I spent my time making montages of Downton Abbey and looking for the microexpressions of Sherlock, I might.
As a final note, Oxford Dictionaries UK declared omnishambles as their 2012 word of the year. Armando Iannucci is a brilliant political satirist who wrote In the Thick of It (where the word originated), In the Loop and Veep. The constant errors and miscommunication that get politicians and their staff into trouble frustrates me so much that I can’t properly appreciate his genius, but I recognize that the word took off like a rocket during this political year. Omnishambles is not a word that I ran into during my year in York, but then I don’t run with political British crowds, and for that I am glad.November 28, 2012