the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: language

Links for 10.19.09: Dude, Sarah Palin, Bono

*Language: Esquire’s “State of Modern Language for Men” has many points with which I disagree. Firstly, “dude” has not been retired. It has been made so ubiquitous that it’s utility is approaching infinity. Learn the difference, assholes.

*Consumption: The American List helps you buy American. I guess. [joshspear]

*Bono: Bono thinks it’s time to rebrand America. Even his attempts at striking a self-deprecating tone reek of smugness. And eelpout.

*Sport: Parahawking is skydiving with hawks. Sure, but I would like to see this done by a person wearing a suit made out of meat. [neatorama]

*Networking: Sarah Palin has a profile on LinkedIn. It doesn’t look like we’re that closely connected. [jimray]

*TV: I struggle to NOT link to The Mad Men Power Rankings on a weekly basis. And if you think THAT sounds like an internal battle, ask me about my love for getting really fat and talking about how bald I am.

*Today’s grade: Weak.

Language: neologisms and sensitivities

I’m not a natural writer. A terrible one? Frequently. An accidental one? Pretty much. A passable one? Once in a while. A natural one? Never. (Here’s a natural one.)

Anyway, it’s always a struggle (even to write a couple hundred words for work or a longer blog post for the ‘nerd). But despite that struggle – or maybe because of it – I take a special interest in language I find that’s compelling, or even just new. Sometimes full-blown prose captures my imagination (more on that soon), but often I’m just as interested in simply collecting (and watching develop) neologisms.

Here are a couple words – new or new to me – that have pumped through my feed reader recently:

*Funemployment: The idea that the idle time coming from being laid off is enjoyed by some.

*Ethonomics: Ethical economics. Or the overlap between what’s good (social ethics) with traditional economics.

*Plastectomy: The ritual burning, cutting or other destruction of credit cards. [murketing]

*Further, Mark Peters on GOOD recently wrote about America’s collective “Syndrome Syndrome” and the weight the word “syndrome” now pulls in the English language. Writes Peters “Other words are workaholics, pulling triple shifts and all-nighters, describing stuff that is deadly serious, kind of serious, totally ridiculous, and everything in between. Syndrome is one of these overachievers.”

A tangentially related item he doesn’t talk about is one we’ve addressed extensively (and for years) at my day job: the creep of “sensitivity.” The sensitivity – not a full-blown allergy, but still something that carries the sound of a “condition” – now, to an often absurd degree – protects people from annoyances ranging from the serious to the frivolous, from co-workers wearing too much perfume to the burden of having to wear clothing with unnatural fibers.

While we as a culture may have a syndrome syndrome, personally, I have a sensitivity sensitivity.

Links for 1.31.09: Peakniks, baby BlackBerries, “mellifluous”

*Mixed media: You know how I love mixed media. Unless you accidentally came here through some who-knows-how-relevant search terms. Check out these book covers made for films.

*Coinage: Peakniks = people who believe the best has come and gone. Peak oil, peak carbon, peak debt, peak beer…

*Toys: Your child needs a BlackBerry just as badly as you do. [rob t]

*Topography: Look over this hot dog map of West Virginia. I have never been to West Virginia. And I hate relish. HATE IT.

*Ink: Tattoos of food. FOOD. DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS FOOD. [murketing]

*Twitter: Waxy points out this Google spreadsheet of musicians on Twitter. (Most of them are very bad. I’m just saying.) Wait. Willie Nelson?

*Directory: New Yorker music writer Sasha Frere-Jones offers a directory of people on Twitter. I was unable to identify myself among them. Sad.

*Language: GOOD magazine points to the 100 most beautiful words in the English language. I was going to be pissed if mellifluous wasn’t on there. But then it was.

*Music: This generator allows you to create music from any text file. Is this utter fucking bullshit?

Links for 6.27.08: Gene Simmons speaks, dumpsters down, Girl Talk revealed…

*Medialoper: Why Kanye West Is Such an Asshole. On a separate note, Esquire says we are living “In the Age of the Asshole.”

*Read: Portfolio has a lengthy interview with Gene Simmons. “I don’t even have to wipe my ass if I don’t want to.” [huffpo]

*Seen everywhere: Some video of Girl Talk walking through “Feed the Animals,” track by track.

*Charge your phone through the power of dance. Have written about people trying to capture kinetic energy like this many times for the day job. [neatorama]

*I will probably not be using music search engine Jogli in much the same way I already don’t use SeeqPod, Songza and MeeMix. [techcrunch]

*Radiohead releases some “In Rainbows” videos through iTunes. [the set list]

*Viral marketing: From Converse. Chucks in Soda. [pop candy]

*On language: A lovely letter to the editor written to a most execrable publication. “I’ve looked into the issue of whether “dumpster” should be capitalized, and this is what I’ve found. Though apparently a brand name at one time, the word has slipped into common usage and no corporate entity appears to be making any effort at trademark protection. This has been the situation for a couple of decades. In fact, I’ve long refused to capitalize the word in my writings except for the beginning of a sentence, titles, or rants about ‘the Dumpsters of Our Lord God.'” [curmudgeonette]

Links for 6.21.08: Girl Talk’s +/-, top albums of the last 25 years, exploring the Afronaut…

*Stereogum (Universal) interviews Greg Gillis about the new “Feed the Animals” Girl Talk album: “I only had one guy on my MySpace talking shit, so that was cool.” (Off topic: I am fascinated by the usage of “my MySpace” vs. “my MySpace page.”)

*On the flip side: The New Republic brings the hate against such sampling: “It is a colossal mistake to coerce an expression of others into an expression of ourselves.” (For what it’s worth, this blog is nothing but a remix of my feedreader and e-mail inbox. Also, coercing the expression of others into the expression of ourselves is the basis of language.) [catbird seat]

*Lists: Entertainment Weekly‘s take on the top albums from 1983-2008: #1. Purple Rain, #12. Stankonia. [largehearted boy]

*Afronauts: Slate asks why so many black musicians have been obsessed with outer space. I am reluctant to admit that I didn’t even know David Bowie was black. [fluxtumblr]

*Japanese youths flip for mini-karaoke. [ypulse]

*Lily Allen posts a chunk of a new song on her MySpace page. Refreshing in that it is not a difficult-to-understand blog post.

*Video: Low + “You May Need a Murderer” from I have a hard time embedding videos. Due to my own incompetence.

*The Shins are leaving SubPop and self-releasing their next album. Also, they will change your life. Or so I hear. [universal]

On Language: portmanteau disease

Off music, on language: Propagated in part by blogs like BuzzFeed (who has been something of a leader in spotting symptoms of portmanteau disease), a number hybrid physical or mental conditions with one unifying theme – awesomely bullshittish portmanteaeu names – have gained a foothold in the culture of late.

Some of them: drunkorexia, sexsomnia, connectile dysfunction. I would also recommend checking out the Phobia List, though items on this list seem to be more mainstream.

Future (or currently under-reported) conditions:
*rageorexia (thinness due to rage)
*scrabies (a combination of scabies and rabies)
*drunkoholic (someone who keeps getting drunk)
*drunkomnia (inability to sleep due to drunkeness)
*portmanteau disease (urge to combine words)

Neologia: Buzzwords for this year

The New York Times Week in Review rolls out a list of buzzwords for 2007, including:

*earmarxist: “A member of Congress who adds earmarks — money designated for pet projects — to legislation.”

*FTW: “For the win,” a term that will be well-known to avid net surfers, since it was tired before it was even introduced.

A few of this year’s goodies from the listenerd archive:

*shitfacedbooking: Facebooking while drunk.

*butterfaith: A woman who is hot, but for her religiosity.

*go ham on ’em: To bring the mayhem.

*BONUS – On Douchebags: The Deets brings the Delta Bravo.

WORDS: Neologism watch at the New York Times and elsewhere

Check out the Times visualization for fancy definitions of:


disemvoweling: leaving the vowels out of a word as a way of self-censoring or evade forum (or other) censors. [t of bs]

gaymer: LGBT videogame fans.

Language: A proliferation of twollipses?

I have been seeing with greater frequency the usage of what is – to me, at least – a new, mostly-online language marker: the two-dotted ellipsis, or, as I am calling them: twollipses.

In informal communication (e-mail, IM, social media) I’ve noticed an increasing use of two dots rather than three to form an ellipsis-like marker. I don’t think, though, that the twollipsis’ introduction is merely laziness, error, or a change in how we ellipsify things. The twollipsis instead seems have a meaning distinct from from its three-dotted cousin.

While the 3-dotter’s meaning and usage are established (pause and omission), in my experience, the 2-dotter seems to be a slightly smaller conversational opening. It indicates not the clear, (and rather dramatic, in the context of most social media) 3-dot conversational space, but rather a mere willingness to carry a topic forward.

I fully realize that I could be wrong, and that it may simply be expediency or laziness (great drivers for shifts in how we communicate) driving the two-dot emergence. (Or perhaps I’m imagining the entire phenomenon!) Maybe someone at Language Log or some other font of linguistic knowledge can set me straight on this matter. (Side note: I realize this is not nearly as interesting a linguistic investigation as the Great Minneapolis Douchebag thread, but it struck me as something worth taking a look at nonetheless.)

Theory: The triumvirate of rhetoric

The one thing writers should know: People hate reading.
The one thing speakers should know: People hate listening.

Hence, the triumvirate of rhetoric:


Words and things: Connectile dysfunction, flexting and shitfacedbooking

Matters of language you may/should find interesting:

*connectile dysfunction – the inability to keep an internet or cellphone connection. [via]

*flexting – flirting via text message. (This follows on blirting of several years ago, which is flirting via blackberry.) [via]

*shitfacedbooking – using Facebook while inebriated. [via]

You may now once again go about your business.

WORDS: Butterfaith, work hot, the full Ginsburg and teabagging

The Boston Globe covers the language beat, defining, among other slang terms [parentdish]:

Bluetool: Someone always wearing a Bluetooth, even when they’re not on the phone.

Butterfaith: A girl who is attractive by all accounts, except for her devout religiousness.

Work hot: A person who may or may not be attractive, but is the best-looking person at your workplace.

Also: “The full Ginsburg” = appearing on This Week, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, Late Edition. [the nyer via kottke]

Also in the news: Teabagging’s Wikipedia site. (Funny that the entry “needs additional citations for verification.” Uh boy.) From the excellent entry (in the Miscellaneous section):

After numerous arrests for underage drinking at his concert, John Mayer jokingly threatened to teabag passed out concert goers in his blog:

“If I happen to be walking backstage and I see any of you young men passed out drunk on a stretcher, make no mistake about it, you will come-to in front of your disappointed parents with a face full of Sharpie and the sneaking suspicion that you’ve been teabagged by one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2007.”


On language: facebook suicide, fixies of hipsters, business time

*Facebook suicide – Forcing one’s self to stop social networking; leaving Facebook.

*A fixie of hipsters – as reported by Kottke, the fixie is a potential collective noun for this elusive group.

*Business time: From the HBO show Flight of the Conchords, business time refers to a predetermined appointment to have sexual relations. In my humble opinion, it may also be used more generically to indicate any period which would have heretofore been called “go time.”