Friday, January 13, 2006

Book No. 1 (!): Verbatim, edited by Erin McKean

A Christmas gift from my in-laws, this is an anthology of some of the wonderful writing on language that has appeared in Verbatim Magazine. I should provide the caveat that the editor is not just a High Hat contributor and the most awesome dictionary editor alive (apologies to the rest of you, but deep down you know it's true), but a (virtual) friend, so I was predisposed to like this book.

That said, I would have loved it, anyway. The essays included within are, for the most part, witty, erudite, brilliant, and fun. Being a policy guy, I think I'll copy the essay called "Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article" on horrible policy-speak for my co-workers. My favorite essays were on quasi-malediction (or words that sound dirty, but aren't) and Slayer slang.

One more note: Stephen Colbert has been running a bit all week in which he feuds with a professor who dared to define "truthiness," Colbert's own coinage, without consulting Colbert, or, at least, "Colbert," the real Stephen Colbert's megalomaniacal on-air persona. Last night, Colbert called the professor, who claimed that he had never heard of Colbert and refuted Colbert's claim on the coinage by citing the Oxford American Dictionary. McKean is the editor of said dictionary, and she cites Colbert in this online interview. It's hard to know what's real and what's staged on The Colbert Report, but if this professor is truly ignorant of Colbert's role in this word (which, by the way, describes, roughly, "something that has many properties, of which the truth is not one, but the user wishes it were to the point that he or she behaves as if it is true."), some of the Colbert people could certainly use McKean's interview to convince the professor of the error of his ways.

Gah, that was incoherent. Need more sleep at night. Meanwhile, go check out Soren's new book blog.


Hayden Childs 12:10 PM, February 21, 2006  

Thanks! I figured that was probably the case.

Bruce Deitrick Price 5:12 PM, April 08, 2006  

Can't find email so I'll use this:

From Bruce Price. Saw you wanted to give my "Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article" to co-workers. Great! Please take a look at You'll see a few other pieces you like.

Hayden Childs 11:07 AM, April 10, 2006  

Will do, Bruce! Thanks!

Also, my above comment was in response to a deleted post asserting that Colbert's interview was mostly taken out of context to make the professor look silly.

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