The Tomato

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Starting Mar. 1, distasteful suffix use on social media sites will result in financial sanctions for Canadians. Edits: Marta Kierkus

People who use the played-out suffix now subject to fines

The Canadian government is in the process of instituting new legislation that aims to do away with an unseemly media trend. Starting March 1, anyone caught using “-gate” as a suffix will be subject to fines and possible prosecution.

“In the wake of scandals like Deflategate, Bendgate, and Gamergate, the use of this particular suffix has lost all of its meaning,” said Janis Fletcher, Minister of the Department of Grammatical Integrity.

“These days, putting ‘-gate’ at the end of a word is the culinary equivalent of adding bacon to an otherwise unremarkable dish to make it more appetizing.”

The use of the suffix to denote political or social misconduct dates back to 1972 with the Watergate scandal. Since then, lazy journalists and unimaginative activists have used this grammatical postfix to drum up controversy without putting in any significant effort.

“This trend has become significantly worse in the age of social media,” said Fletcher.

“Now, basically anyone with an Internet connection and an axe to grind can make news headlines by tweeting about bending iPhones or Anthony Weiner’s, err, platform.”

Fletcher and her colleagues decided to take action in the fall by drafting new legislation. Beginning in March, anyone who uses the suffix in an article or social media post will be served a cease and desist letter by their Internet service provider.

Sources from within Fletcher’s department are saying that multiple offenders of this new law could also be handed a fine, or will at the very least be mailed a government-issued thesaurus to help improve their vocabulary.

“It’s a real slap in the face to freedom of speech in this country,” said William Baxter, a University of Ottawa social sciences major who made headlines last week after popularizing #Soupgate, which sought to expose the tendency for universities to serve overly hot soup.

“With these new restrictions, how else am I supposed to get my righteous social crusade off the ground?” he added.

While hashtag activists like Baxter are crestfallen at the loss of their favourite grammatical postfix, Fletcher’s colleagues on the Hill remain optimistic about the future. In fact, some Conservative MPs are so pleased with this upcoming legislation that they are now thinking of incorporating the use of “-gate” into their new anti-terrorism bill.

“If you think about it, using this suffix is kind of similar to writing terrorist propaganda,” said Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety. “Both involve the spreading of misinformed opinions and unoriginal ideas that cause people mental and psychological anguish.”

If this legislation proves a success, Fletcher and her colleagues plan to put a stop to similarly overused Internet trends such as Grumpy Cat memes and “Hitler Reacts” videos.