journalism


From the Dec. 8, 1908, edition of the New York Times:

“Blacks can’t rule, Taft tells south”

That’s a pretty big leap to make in just a century … sometimes, I’m right proud of our country.

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Foreign Policy posted an absolutely chilling audio clip, courtesy E. Benjamin Skinner, author of A World Enslaved, of a pimp selling a girl to a man in Bucharest for a used car.

I know there are arguments for legalizing prostitution, and perhaps adequate legislation could better address the problem of sex slavery better than a shadowy journalist type, a rogue armed with little more than a tape recorder, but … this is just it. The depths. Despair. Humanity dark as night.

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Snag this snazzy T — from which I stole my post title — at One Horse Shy for a cool $22.

Lots of language stuff going on right now — and not only in relation to my unending quest to update a certain stylebook that shall remain nameless, but in the mainstream media, too! Huzzah.

When I’m not getting my kicks reading insta-classics like Lapsing Into a Comma (Bill Walsh) and Woe is I (Patricia T. O’Connor),  I’m trawling through a pile of newspapers and magazines. Generally, they’re a fertile field from which to harvest examples of the uses (and misuses) of modern language; occasionally, they cross the line into explicitly surfacing issues of punctuation, style, and usage — as the Times did today in a story about the inclusion of a semicolon in the MTA’s latest public service ads about throwing away newspapers. It’s quite mawkish, not to mention obnoxiously high-handed, but I’m always secretly pleased that someone somewhere is still pondering the importance of clarity, concision, and coherence in writing.

Elsewhere: Mike Clark of the Greensboro News-Record recently took on the colon; the Daily Freeman reported on schoolchildren protesting a restaurant’s use of capitalization; and the Sydney Morning Herald also ran a (somewhat confounding) glossary of new words that already seem a bit dated — I mean, tanorexia? How Rachel Zoe, circa 2006.

If reading isn’t your thing (which … umm … would be nonsensical, as this text-heavy post is all about word nerdery….but I digress …), you can fake it until you make it with buy grammarrelated T-shirts!)   

Maybe it’s a fluke — or perhaps all this language lovin’ is in anticipation of National Grammar Day on March 4.  The Web site devoted to the holiday has some great links, and its creators even offer a recipe for a Grammartini. See, we’re only selectively curmudgeonly!

Seeing Steve McCurry‘s feature in the October 2007 National Geographic irked me somewhat. McCurry, otherwise a fabulous photographer, took on a complex topic — The Great Indian Wedding — and, in my opinion, failed.

The series of 10 pictures is uncharacteristically flat, and, having attended my fair share of Indian weddings, they don’t grasp all the facets of what is a pretty universally huge undertaking. The images are obvious, they feel rushed, and worst, I feel no connection to the people in the pictures. For the man who immortalized the piercing gaze of an unnamed Afghan woman, it’s…a disappointment.

For an alternative take on the institution, here’s a link to a Flickr set chronicling my own Indian wedding — which took place at a rather dismal office and which was delayed by five hours by a bureaucrat who decided he didn’t want to grace us with his presence until he was good and ready. Ah, memories!