October 2010

Roundup from the October Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine.


  • “Give” (as “Hive”, page 40)
  • “learn” (as “lea040n”, page 40)
  • “green” (as “gree”, page 95)
  • “quinceañera” (as “quinciñera”, page 97, in Neal Pollack’s quite awful short story Down with Ice Cream!

Unexpected nonmisspelling

  • “minuscule” (as “minuscule”, page 93)

At which point I went back to reading the Holiday 2010 issue of Sky Mall.

For your entertainment, some choice quotes from Carl Paladino’s campaign web site, most with pithy commentary. Would that it were all a joke.

  • “Carl will work for charter schools for the poorest of our urban students as an alterative to dysfunctional schools of today.” Unfortunately, this is our universe, not an alterative one.
  • “Carl will consolidate schools to countywide districts to eliminate redundancy of administration and allow for more funds to be devoted to lowering class sizes and excellence.” If anyone knows how to lower excellence, CP does.
  • “This is – and more – long, long overdue.” [No pithy commentary.]
  • “I am particularly incensed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s no-show job at a high-priced personal injury law firm.” We should all be incensed CP’s illiteracy. I am.
  • “(See more HERE.)” (where HERE is not a link). Thank you no. I don’t care to see more.
  • “Carl strongly support the State University at Buffalo 2020 plan and similar programs for other higher education institutions in the State to be able to grow in both size and student population with out State intrusion.” I can has cheezburger, with out State intrusion, please.
  • “[Candidate for lieutenant governor Greg Edwards] graduated Panama High School in 1978 and then went to Allegany College in Pennsylvania.” Where correctly spelling the name of the college is apparently not a requirement for graduation.

Over at Language Log, Geoffrey Pullum relates his discovery of “the neolexeme embiggen in a perfectly serious Economist report about Ascension Island.” Should embiggen, um, embiggen its foothold in the English language, its coiner, The Simpsons writer Dan Greavey, might enter into “the very select club of people who invented words that [like cromulent, grok, and Pullum’s own eggcorn] make it into major dictionaries.” (Here, major apparently means at least somewhat more exclusive than Wiktionary.)

Unfortunately, none of the words I’ve coined or threatened to coin, like headlinic, toddfoolery, pastametric, mispostrophe, maniest, alsowise, sicize, vulpigeration, and interludinous, have made it even so far as Wiktionary, my having modestly forborne the public onanism of adding them myself. Still, I do hope to join the club some day.

Let me get this right. Writing for the Washington Post about the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, Kathleen Parker (“Decency plunged when Tyler Clementi jumped”) doesn’t “want to play down the gay aspect of this travesty [sic], but there isn’t space in a column to tackle everything.” Then she goes on to recommend solving social problems by making people “feel ostracized” and “targeted as pariahs.” She wants to go back in time to when it was “bad manners to display oneself — or one’s affections — in public,” and she thinks people should “make it unattractive and unacceptable to intrude on others.”

Malicious intrusions of privacy are wrong, but Parker’s idea of “respect for privacy” rings loud and hollow. It rhymes with that facetious definition of “privacy” bigoted homophobes want from gay people when they say (not quoting Ms. Parker now), “Just don’t shove it in my face.” Like, by getting married. Or holding hands in public.

How hard is it for people to understand that gay kids suffer, and some of them kill themselves, because the shame of being gay is so painful to bear. Society ostracizes homosexuality. Straight kids might be embarrassed about their sexuality, but so ashamed to love someone of the opposite sex that they take their own lives to escape the pain? Who can imagine that?

Parker writes, “Although Clementi was filmed with another man, one can imagine as easily a roommate spying on a heterosexual encounter.” Sure, but what one can’t imagine is that the unwitting video star would then jump off a bridge.

By the way, I don’t want to play down Kathleen Parker’s callousness in calling this a “travesty” (does she know what that word means?), but there isn’t space in a column to tackle everything. Fortunately there’s just enough space left for me to say “fuck you” to Kathleen Parker and to mention that I do believe ostracism has a place in the world, but not where she wants to put it.

In contrast to Parker, Bloomberg columnist Ann Woolner (Sex Video Suicide Leaves Shared Guilt Behind) is not a travesty. She understands.