I recently decided that the English language needs a word that succinctly describes the case when a corporate manager, leader of a country, religious leader or other zealot assumes control of an organization, country or religious group, makes significant changes to said organization or country and then rides off into the sunset, leaving the organization, country or religious group in significantly worse condition than before.
Since Sarah Palin is busy ‘refudiating’ the policies of those Godless Communists, the Obama administration, I thought I would step in here and offer a term. In honour of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United Sates, I offer the term ‘Bushify’.
I thought I was being original. Of course, the term has long since been coined. I see it has already been defined as “To get something very wrong, in any area of life” (unwords.com) and “the act of taking a word that wouldn't normally have "ificate" or "ify" at the end and adding one or both said suffix's’ (urbandictionary.com). However, I think my definition is broader in scope, and certainly more useful.
Consider the origins of the term ‘Bushification’ or “to Bushify’. When George W. Bush assumed office, the U.S. was running a budget surplus, unemployment was at record lows, the U.S. was at peace with the rest of the world and the future seemed bright for the U.S. Of course, we all know what happened. Tax cuts for the wealthy, budget deficits, two wars in the Middle East, a housing bust, a financial system meltdown and record unemployment. Don’t you think that the U.S. was really, truly Bushified during the Bush administration?
On Friday, August 6 2010, the CBC announced that Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president for English language services, was leaving the CBC, effecitve immediately. The announcement included this statement:
“When Richard was appointed executive vice-president of CBC Television six years ago,” said Mr. Lacroix, “he brought with him a revolution that shook the foundation of the organization and eventually of the whole of our English services. He challenged every premise, attacked conventional wisdom, and uprooted whole parts of the internal culture.”
Wouldn’t if have been more succinct to have simply said “Mr. Stursberg thorougly Bushified the CBC during his tenure.”? I find the term “Bushify” to be much more evocotive, and concise, than Mr. Lacroix’s more long-winded statement. (In fairness to Mr. Lacroix, I should also note that he is also quoted as having said “Six years later, the institution is better off than it was. I want to acknowledge his success in turning CBC Television around and thank him for his contribution.” But I think we can all read between the lines of his statement and see the thinly veiled reference to the Bushification of the CBC.)
What other applications can we think of for this term? Stephen Harper’s Conservative minority government has thorougly Bushified Parliament? Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are attempting to Bushify Statistics Canada? The possibilities are endless.
So remember: Bushification, the act of Bushifying an organization or country. You heard it here first.