Banished Words and Unicorn Hunting!

unicorn trappedThe late W.T. (Bill) Rabe, known for his clever PR stunts from his days as a Detroit-area publicist, created the Unicorn Hunters in 1971, shortly after he was hired as LSSU’s Director of Public Relations. Bill, with the assistance of LSSU Professors of English Peter Thomas, John McCabe, John Stevens and others, came up with the Hunters as a way of garnering more publicity for LSSU, which had just established itself as an independent school after being a branch of what is now Michigan Technological University. The Unicorn Hunters made the news often for activities and events including: the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, burning a snowman on the first day of spring, World Sauntering Day, International Stone-Skipping Tournament held annually on Mackinac Island, Unicorn Questing Season and Teacher Thank You Week.

Like the Beloit Mindset list, this is an amazing example of the way a university zeitgeist can enter non-academic worlds and have a profound effect. Personally, I think we need more Unicorn Hunting! The regulations seem pretty fair and equitable to me and hey, the license itself is free.

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