“Semicolons are well-spoken and stuck in the nineties: snap bracelets, side-ponytails, and the habit of cutting in and drawing attention to themselves, often unnecessarily. Friends with many, enemy to the too-modern colon. A students.”—
Guys. GUYS. This is such a good read. Well, infuriating. Because society is the worst. But also illuminating and encouraging in that it’s-not-you-it’s-them kind of way. And the links! It’s rich with wonderful links!
They reached their funding goal, and I think that’s good. But it was pointed out to me that there seems to be no discussion of gay WOMEN’s voices. I get that they say “gay men” a lot in the description, so they aren’t talking about all gay people I guess, but the title and intro says “sounding gay,” and gay women deal with this too.
I’m not saying everything has to be about everything, but to silence gay women when you’re literally talking about gay voices…it’s almost ironic, except that it’s pretty standard.
“Put your flags up in the sky And then wave ‘em side to side Show the world where you’re from Show the world we are one.”
Clearly this functions dialectically to expose the contradictions inherent in the ideological construction of globalised sporting competitions as capable of uniting divided nations at the precise moment when those nations are divisively expressing their national identities in the most reified manner.
All the major news websites are calling Spike Lee’s answer to question on gentrification at a recent Q&A a “rant.” Do we always call things like that rants? What makes one thing a rant and something else a speech? Or an “impromptu speech” at least? Or just an “answer” to a question?
I looked up rant: “speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.”
We say rant on Vegansaurus usually when we write about something when we’re agitated. But it bothers me a little because I think the term is used to undermine what you say. But maybe being angry at all undermines what you say? But if someone is being really offensive, why can’t you be angry? And why can’t your argument still be solid even if you’re angry? That seems like an arbitrary societal thing. Nothing about being angry or impassioned actually makes what you’re saying more or less valid.
I’ve also wondered if the Vegansaurus writers were all men, would it still be a rant? I think that’s why “rant” stuck out to me when I googled Spike Lee and gentrification. I’m wondering if Lee were white, would it still be a rant? I doubt it. If a white male said something equally thought-provoking and off-the-cuff, I think people would be falling all over him with praise.
That’s obviously speculation, but still, why does Lee’s answer have to be a rant? Why can’t it be an impassioned answer? Or even a “diatribe”—what’s wrong with diatribe? Is that too validating?
The Atlantic’s summary of Buzzfeed’s style guide, which I guess Buzzfeed published recently. I love everything about this. Especially this rule, which I always try to apply in ad copy and people still insist on fighting it:
There are, it’s worth noting, a couple instances in which Buzzfeed’s guide lists exceptions to its own rules. And when are those to be deployed? In those cases, the document says, when following the original rule just “looks weird.”
Amen. Get on this train, people.
I also like this bit from the guide:
Genre names should always be lowercase (new wave, indie, hip-hop, etc.). Exceptions: K-pop, J-pop, R&B.
"Exceptions: K-pop" would have made a great post title, no? (Hint: yes)
What you may think it means: to feel sick
What it actually means: to cause nausea
When you eat too much ice cream and declare to your mom or the nearest adult, “I feel nauseous,” what you’re actually saying is that you are causing people around you to feel sick. Thanks, jerk. (For the record, “I’m nauseated” is the way to go.)
People misuse nauseous all the time. I don’t because I’m awesome. Actually I don’t because I think it was in some movie? I can’t remember which but one character explains the proper usage to another. Thank god for movies or we’d never learn anything!
“Two experiments are reported in which subjects viewed films of automobile accidents and then answered questions about events occurring in the films. The question, “About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?” elicited higher estimates
of speed than questions which used the verbs collided, bumped, contucted, or hit in place of smashed. On a retest one week later, those subjects who received the verb smashed were more likely to say “yes” to the question, “Did you see any broken glass?”, even though broken glass was not present in the film. These results are consistent with the view that the questions asked subsequent to an event can cause a reconstruction in one’s memory of that event.”—
Thought for the day: demonstrably is a very angry sounding word. But do not be afraid, it won’t hurt you. It just means “in an obvious and provable manner.” But I guess that would scare a lot of people actually because so many people are full of shit.
This guy is mad! I agree though. Email isn’t a formal medium and signoffs are so formal. I like when my dad says “best” though but old people are always funny on the internet because they don’t know the norms. I like xoxo because it’s silly and everyone knows I don’t like hugging. I also like “sincerely” because I’m basically never being sincere so it’s a bonus joke!
I was recently reminded that this blog exists. In separate news, I came across this article in Philly Mag: Being White in Philly. OMG it’s the worst! But linguistically, it irks me too. Who even says “whites” and “blacks” anymore? I say “white people” and “black people.” I don’t even say “jews.” I feel like “whites” and “blacks” is A. a holdover from more blatantly racist times and B. commodifying people. It also irritates me how he goes back and forth between “blacks” and “African-Americans.” I’m personally trying to bring “European-American” into our lexicon. To even things up. Because if you say “whites” but then say “African-Americans” it’s like you’re saying black people are less American or something. Like white people are the baseline for American and other people are only half-American.
And more and more, I find it awkward whenever someone says “African-American.” I don’t find the term that terrible (provided we use European-American in conjunction), but it seems like there’s some underlying racism when a white person says it. Or it’s just awkward like their internal racism is causing them to walk on eggshells.
“There is a distinction between having the legal right to say something and having the moral right not to be held accountable for what you say. Being asked to apologise for saying something unconscionable is not the same as being stripped of the legal right to say it. It’s really not very fucking complicated. Cry Free Speech in such contexts, you are demanding the right to speak any bilge you wish without apology or fear of comeback. You are demanding not legal rights but an end to debate about and criticism of what you say.”—
Grammatically, there are various ways of describing what’s going on. One helpful set of terms is essential vs. nonessential. When the identifier makes sense in the sentence by itself, then the name is nonessential and you use a comma before it. Otherwise, no comma. That explains an exception to the only-thing-in-the-world rule: when the words “a,” “an” or “some,” or a number, come before the description or identification of a name, use a comma.
According to a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society in January by Brice Russ, a graduate student at Ohio State University, the 200 million or so messages posted each day in the supposedly placeless world of Twitter may end up being a rich source of information about regional difference.
To demonstrate the validity of Twitter-based research, Mr. Russ searched through some 400,000 Twitter posts coming from identifiable locations and zeroed in on three different linguistic variables, starting with the regional distribution of “soda” vs. “pop” or “Coke,” something that has been well-studied by scholars and amateurs alike. Next, he tracked the use of “hella,” an intensifier (as in “hella boring”) that is associated with Northern California but whose regional distribution has only been examined anecdotally. Finally, he looked at the well-documented syntactic construction “needs X-ed” (as in“the car needs washed”), which is common in the Midwest and especially around Pittsburgh.
Mr. Russ’s results for carbonated beverages, plotted onto a Google map, track closely with previous research, with “pop” predominant from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, “Coke” predominant in the South and “soda” ruling the Northeast and Southwest while also cropping up elsewhere. But his map for “hella” shows the word leap-frogging up the West Coast to Seattle (and, more puzzlingly, popping up in St. Louis and Kansas City). “People may be moving up the coast, bringing it with them,” he said, adding that he was utterly confounded by the midwestern “hella” hotspots.
As for the “needs X-ed” construction, Mr. Russ detected hints of a southward drift since it was studied in the mid-1990s, though he was cautious about drawing firm conclusions. “There could have been diffusion southward,” he said. “Or I may have just caught something that the previous research missed.”
“The idea that young women serve as incubators of vocal trends for the culture at large has longstanding roots in linguistics. As Paris is to fashion, the thinking goes, so are young women to linguistic innovation.”—They’re, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrrve
“Many people like eating meat, but most are reluctant to harm things that have minds. The current three studies show that this dissonance motivates people to deny minds to animals. Study 1 demonstrates that animals considered appropriate for human consumption are ascribed diminished mental capacities. Study 2 shows that meat eaters are motivated to deny minds to food animals when they are reminded of the link between meat and animal suffering. Finally, Study 3 provides direct support for our dissonance hypothesis, showing that expectations regarding the immediate consumption of meat increase mind denial. Moreover, this mind denial in turn reduces negative affect associated with dissonance.”
I thought “affect” was wrong, but it’s correct if you look at definition 3 in the New American Oxford
Someone was concerned over a word usage in my post (not mine, it’s a quote), but they sorted it out! This is my kind of gal.
There are five distinct words here. When “affect” is accented on the final syllable (a-FECT), it is usually a verb meaning “have an influence on”: “The million-dollar donation from the industrialist did not affect my vote against the Clean Air Act.”
Occasionally a pretentious person is said to affect an artificial air of sophistication. Speaking with a borrowed French accent or ostentatiously wearing a large diamond ear stud might be an affectation. In this sort of context, “affect” means “to make a display of or deliberately cultivate.”
Another unusual meaning is indicated when the word is accented on the first syllable (AFF-ect), meaning “emotion.” In this case the word is used mostly by psychiatrists and social scientists—people who normally know how to spell it.
The real problem arises when people confuse the first spelling with the second: “effect.” This too can be two different words. The more common one is a noun: “When I left the stove on, the effect was that the house filled with smoke.” When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it.
Less common is a verb meaning “to create”: “I’m trying to effect a change in the way we purchase widgets.” No wonder people are confused. Note especially that the proper expression is not “take affect” but “take effect”—become effective. Hey, nobody ever said English was logical: just memorize it and get on with your life.
The stuff in your purse? Your personal effects.
The stuff in movies? Sound effects and special effects.
“Affective” is a technical term having to do with emotions; the vast majority of the time the spelling you want is “effective.”
Wikipedia even has a whole page dedicated to the use of “affect” in psychology.