John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One more reason to consult a copy editor

A Planet Fitness franchisee in Maryland is changing the name of its clubs, and it is evident that no copy editor was involved in the decision. From ClubIndustry.com:

ELLICOTT CITY, MD — Planet Fitness, Dover, NH, has reached a settlement with a Maryland franchisee who sued the company for violating Maryland franchise and antitrust laws.

Diana Hamilton Dutt and her husband, Hans Dutt, filed the lawsuit in March, claiming fraud and civil conspiracy on the part of Planet Fitness and Brick Bodies, Cockeysville, MD.

In the settlement, the Dutts are released from their franchise agreements with Planet Fitness, sources say. The Dutts can convert their two Planet Fitness clubs immediately and must de-brand by no later than the end of next February. The Dutts will change their clubs’ name to Spunk! Fitness and are currently negotiating leases for future locations.


If it is not clear to you why Spunk is not an ideal choice, check with a copy editor.

17 comments:

  1. I have to confess that it wouldn’t have been clear to me if I hadn’t seen one particular episode of “Sex in the City.”

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  2. Only because it's one of my favorite qoutes by an editor, fictional or otherwise:

    "You know what? You've got spunk. ... I hate spunk."
    --Lou Grant

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  3. I must've missed "Sex in the City." When I saw the word "spunk," my mind flashed back to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" episode when Lou Grant told new employee Mary Richards that "you've got spunk."

    "Thank you," Mary said, embarrassed and pleased at the same time.

    "I hate spunk," Lou growled back.

    Still makes me laugh, but I'm guessing that's not what you're referring to.

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  4. Ever since that "Sex and the City" episode, it's been nearly impossible to watch somebody eat celery.

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  5. Seems like a perfectly appropriate name to me when you consider what actually motivates most people to get fit...

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  6. I recognize the questionable nature of the word "spunk" as used in a sexual realm. But I resent the capture of perfectly good words by that portion of society for obscene uses. I recently ran into that when I published an article which referred to the people who attend the infamous Tea Parties as "Teabaggers." It, too, has a nasty meaning, although to most generations it would be considered really obscure. I removed it, however, recognizing that people of the current generation would howl at its use, diminishing the effectiveness of the piece. I resent "wordnapping" (is that a word?) when the original word had a perfectly good meaning. Obviously, it is not a new phenomenon; however, it is more visible, given the abundance of personal communication tools.

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  7. And then there's the matter of the city named Cockeysville.

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  8. Mr. Waverly, with respect to spunk, the hijacking you deplore is not recent. One online dictionary of etymology dates the sense of "seminal fluid" to the late 1880s.

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  9. So glad I've never seen even a portion of an episode of "Sex and the City." Except, of course, for the outtakes that made it into their promos. (The thought of those alone is enough for me to say, "Ick!")

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  10. The sexual sense is dominant in British English. I was surprised to encounter a different use when I first read Tom Sawyer.

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  11. By the same token, how could anyone think "The Company Store" was a good name for a retail shop? Or "The Gingerbread House" (and there are dozens) for a nursery school?

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  12. Lfelaco, that made me laugh out loud (yes, literally). I think perhaps you're on to something. Maybe it is, in fact, the ideal name for a gym. (Its marketing tag line: Come on in!)

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  13. Fritinancy, as usual, has informed comments, as well as a headline I envy:

    http://nancyfriedman.typepad.com/away_with_words/2010/02/dont-sit-on-the-benches.html

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  14. I'm reminded of the old Tom Swifty (remember those?): "I'm coming!" Tom ejaculated spunkily.

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  15. Patricia the TerseFebruary 6, 2010 at 2:13 AM

    I could have lived the rest of my life without having read this. Now it's 2 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

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  16. Are you aware that this blog page was used to falsify evidence before a Court of Law? Also, the maximum sentence for tampering with evidence is up to 10 years in jail. You don't say?

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