But if you read the comments, you'll see that I (and the commenter who got there ahead of me, the bastard), had heard the word differently. To quote the commenter:
Note: I don't think it actually is a portmanteau since I think of the "mal" as a prefix rather than a word on its own. But it does end up providing us with a perfectly good word if we only seize the moment and utterly co-opt it. Just think of all the situations where it'll come in handy.
"Before I read what a “malternative” was, I thought the word was a portmanteau of “mal-” and “alternative,” making the word refer to a bad alternative. In that case, it wouldn’t have been such a bad word."
John McCain: "Sarah Palin? Really? Who the hell is she?"
McCain Advisor: "She's the least objectionable malternative."
or how about,
Me in a Chinese Restaurant: "Jeez, the stinky tofu sure is expensive. Do you have a cheaper malternative?"
Yes folks, I just know this one is gonna catch on. Just like my coinage for trawling did!
The assignment, then, for today shall be the co-opting of words. What words out there already have a perfectly good (or bad) definition, but you think it should mean something else? Throw your worst malternatives at me.