Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Will “lifting luggage” become a catchphrase to match “hiking the Appalachian Trail”?
Go to Language Log for the linguistics; stay for the snickering over hypocrisy.
Roger Ebert tweets:
“Reason.com discusses my Newsweek attack on 3D. Some comments debate my status as an old fart. I'm an old fart who's right”
I feel a kinship.
We told you you needed editors
At nbclosangeles.com, a report that Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s name has been misspelled in her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as “Julia Luis Dreyfus.”
You may also recall that the director of Chile’s mint was recently fired, in part because the mint issued 50-peso coins spelling the nation’s name as “Chiie.”
A message from Patrick Lackey on a Washington Post story “about the Virginia attorney general seeking documents by a former U of Va. prof named Michael Mann, who did research on global warming. The story quotes the attorney general: ‘There is no scientific consensus on global warming or Mann's influence on global warning.’ I think the attorney general meant ‘man's influence on global warning,’ not Mann's. So how is a newspaper like an off-short oil rig? What can go wrong will.”
Just how big a geek are you?
We learn from Copyediting that Mary Beth Protomastro has set up a website that will allow you to search more than forty online stylebooks at once. This should help you to learn how to live with inconsistency.
Our impoverished profanity
When Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan repeatedly used a word rendered in newspapers as “sh—y” while questioning executives of Goldman Sachs, a thrill went through journalistic circles because he had used a Bad Word in public. That was followed by much brow-furrowing over how to report the expression, given the delicate sensibilities of the American public. The crossword-puzzle solution, a combination of letters and hyphens to get thisclose to the word without actually rendering it, was the usual resort.
I will, of course, in my new capacity as a tinpot authority in The Sun’s newsroom, enforce the puerilities demanded by newspaper style, but as you reflect on naughty expressions, I invite you to consider a short passage from H.L. Mencken’s The American Language (shield your eyes, sensitive readers):
“Of the non-profane pejoratives in common American use, son of a bitch is the hardest-worked, and by far. ... But son of a bitch seems as pale and ineffectual to a Slav or Latin as fudge does to us. The dumbest policeman in Palermo thinks up a dozen better ones between breakfast and the noon whistle. ... In Standard Italian there are no less than forty congeners of son of a bitch, and each and every one of them is more opprobrious, more brilliant, more effective. In the Neapolitan dialect there are thousands.”