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Totally Not Fake News: Know Your Terms

It’s important to have the right words for the right occasions.

So many words. Where to begin?
Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images

HOUSTON, TX – So far, the unexpectedly eventful offseason continues for the Texans. Moving further into January, the Texans figured to make headlines for the hires of General Manager and Head Coach. To an extent, that remains the case. Nick Caserio generated a number of headlines when the Texans signed him to a major deal, as have the interviews the Texans conducted for head coach, which (to date) include: Jim Caldwell, Marvin Lewis, Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady, Matt Eberflus, Leslie Fraizer, David Culley, Tony Stark, Sansa Stark, Beto O’Rourke, Ray Skywalker, Tony Perkins, Joel Osteen, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Pope Emeritus Benedict, Ted Cruz, Demetri Medvedev, and half of the donators to the Davos Conference. “Hey,” said face of the franchise Jack Easterby. “You have to look at every option on the table for this most important position within the organization. It is a very complex process and one that requires the greatest attention to detail.”

While any job interview process is especially grueling for interviewer and interviewee, we at Totally Not Fake News have obtained (through our usually completely ethical and absolutely not-highly-illegal spear phishing techniques) some of the questions that many of the prospective candidates will face in this most high-stakes of job applications. Here are but a sample of the interview questions:

  • “What is your offensive game plan philosophy?”
  • “What is your defensive game plan philosophy?”
  • “Do you believe in a higher power?”
  • “How do you see your life improving when you come into the fold of the Texans and get to know the glory that is The Jack Easterby?”
  • “Do you accept that Jack Easterby is the best prophet to get you to where you need to go for spiritual growth?”
  • “Will you promise to defend the Texans and Jack Easterby’s role within the organization with all your might and strength? Would you be willing to sacrifice your limbs, sight, your family, and life to defend Jack Easterby against any and all adversaries (to include slanderous lies from to his divine mission within the Texans?”
  • “If it came down to a franchise quarterback who brings in millions of dollars in jersey sales and merchandising rights as well as incalculable value in the well-being of a franchise, especially when said franchise has been searching for this type of player for 19 years, and defending the rightful place of honor and power within the Texans organization that Jack Easterby holds, please explain how you would subvert the franchise quarterback and defend Jack Easterby against all threats, foreign and domestic?”

As any reader can see, this is quite the challenging process. Everything associated with the Texans’ hiring process and how they have brought in (or plan to bring in) talent to take the team to the Super Bowl has generated a lot of dialogue and conversation. In particular, there is quite the vocabulary out there that finds itself applied to the situation at hand for the Texans’ predicament. To that end, we at Totally Not Fake News will offer you insight into some of the key terms associated with the Texans when people look to do research on the team (when they need a break from sites such as Por—[Censored by Order of The Easterby])

While an English term, its meaning stretches beyond all boundaries.
Photo credit should read PASCAL LACHENAUD/AFP via Getty Images

Dumpster Fire: This is a term that has come up quite often in searches related to the Texans. The dictionary meaning lists two parts:

  • One, “a fire in a dumpster/trash bin.”
  • Another, “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence.”

For the second definition, it is thought to have entered the modern lexicon circa 2008, when it started making an appearance in various online forums. However, with the growth of social media, the term, as well as the subsequent meme/GIF showing an actual fire in a dumpster, eventually took on a life of its own. Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its list of official words in 2018.

Example: “Almost all aspects of the Houston Texans’ 2020 season, from its front-office situation to its defense, were a raging dumpster fire.”

Germany - Berlin - West-Berlin: trial against Horst Mahler, member of the Baader-Meinhof-Group, who was accused of taking part in the violent liberation of radical leftist Andreas Baader, police clearing the court room after disturbances by the audie
To think it started here?
Photo by Mehner/ullstein bild via Getty Images

$hitshow: This is another term that tends to also come up in searches related to the current state of the Texans. The general definition reads as follows:

  • “A description of an event or situation that takes an unexpected turn and is thrown into chaos.”

Unlike dumpster fire, this term does not have literal definition (at least one that decent dictionaries not found on Por—[Censored by Order of The Easterby] will use). Instead, this is primarily slang, with the first instance of it being used in the 1970s. One account has it that the first example of the term appeared in the trial of several German left-wing extremists in the early 1970s. It has evolved slightly from pure mockery to accounting for a situation that, while bad, is also somewhat entertaining at the same time.

NOTE: Until recently, the word shit in its various forms would be censored/asterisked/dashed out of any official correspondence. The idea being that [kitten] was one of the “seven words” that got George Carlin into so much trouble (and sold so many albums). However, in the past few years, newspapers and official writing, either from a sense of not having the time to constantly censor out all the instances or just the evolution of human language, tend to leave the word in official writing unaltered or censored. Radio and TV may still censor it, but for how much longer?

Example: The Texans’ front office, especially between the actions of Easterby, Rootes and McNair, has been one $hitshow after another since the start of the 2020 season.

Where it all started...
Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cluster[Kitten]: Another popular term associated with the recent state of the Texans, this one is also officially in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • “A complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation: a muddled mess”

Yes, there is the historic definition, [cautiously peers around to check for any pronouncements of The Easterby] of “simultaneous copulation between multiple partners, orgy,” but in recent times, the first definition takes precedence. (whew…okay, no interruptions, we can go back to searching for [Censored by Order of the Easterby]….Fu[also Censored by Order of The Easterby]!)

As for when cluster[kitten] evolved into it current definition, most trace its origins back the late 1960s and U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The term came to represent the end result of too many high ranking officers making decisions with way too little information from on-the-ground sources (the cluster aspect noted the officer insignia (which is a cluster of oak leaves/arrows in eagle talons/stars)) for those who made such decisions. Given the outcome of many decisions in that war, it is understandable how that came to pass. Thus, cluster[kitten] takes its place with FUBAR and SNAFU as classic lexicon contributions from the U.S. military.

NOTE: While the portrayal of the word $hit can vary based on sources, [kitten] has not changed and is still censored/asterisked/dashed out of most official correspondence. However, it may not be much longer before that changes.

Example: The General Manager and Head Coaching hiring process for the Houston Texans in 2021 can only be described a one major cluster[kitten].

As for any scale ranking the three terms (a/k/a which is greater/worst), it is in the eyes of the beholder. Some will note that a cluster[kitten] is worse than a $hitshow and that a dumpster fire is perhaps more tame than the other two (certainly easier to use around kids). It is also possible to combine terms:

Example: “Ever since Jack Easterby came to the Texans, personnel and team decisions have turned a once stable franchise into a $hitshow raging inside a dumpster fire.”

Still, we at Totally Not Fake News will not presume to dictate how you, our reading public (or, in the case of some Titans fans and/or Cal McNair, have their parents/Jack Easterby slowly read out loud to) think. Therefore, we will open the floor to your perspective with the following polling question from our top-notch, totally accurate, and unswayable polling system. Results to be published in a time in the near future/whenever we can avoid the “Censored by Order of The Easterby” virus that seems to pop up on our screens every time we want to search for [Censored by Order of The Easterby].

Obligatory Easterby Image....for your viewing pleasure/contemplation. (as approved by The Jack Easterby)


Which word best describes the current state of the Houston Texans?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Dumpster Fire.
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    (6 votes)
  • 59%
    All of the Above.
    (51 votes)
  • 20%
    None of the above: The word best describing the Texans is [Censored by Order of The Easterby].
    (18 votes)
86 votes total Vote Now