That’s a Star Wars pumpkin, folks.
Poking fun at new words added to various dictionaries is a time-honored journalistic tradition, nearly as well-loved as writing about nomenclature after the Social Security Administration’s annual release of the country’s most popular names.
And for good reason: Everyone uses words and everyone has a name. It doesn’t get more universal than the language we share. So, today, when the Oxford Dictionaries Online (not the OED) added bitcoin and hackerspace and emoji and TL;DR, everyone had some fun arguing about whether all the additions were appropriate. On one side are the traditionalists, who would prefer English remain the same as it’s always been, where “always” is defined as whenever that person was 23. On the other side are the people who are right. This is literally a never-ending debate, and yes I just used literally to mean figuratively and you still knew what I meant.
But, question! Many of the words entering our dictionaries have a distinctively technological flavor. They are things we use to describe our interactions with machines, or are used almost exclusively in mediated realms like Gchat. So, if our language is being partially forced to find new ways to say things because we can do new things with technology, and we know technology obsolesces, then are we naming actions and ideas that will only exist until the next upgrade comes out?
As if “supermoon” isn’t cool enough, the technical term for the moon when it’s closest to the Earth is: perigee-syzygy. It happens
So, as forecasts predicted, it rained Saturday on the Kentucky Derby.
The rain—sometimes steady—led to Derby-goers packing under any shelter they could find. They stood idle in the grandstand and under awnings. In the infield, people strung tarps across portable potties. (Although, most people in the infield didn’t seem to mind the rain at all.
A swastika was drawn in black marker on a Fairness bumper sticker. Two Obama campaign stickers were defaced, too—”F—- You” written on one and devil horns and fangs written drawn on Obama’s face on the other. A photo provided by Hartman below:
When would Rand Paul need to stop filibustering to make it into the top five longest in U.S. history?
5. Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.): 4 a.m.
4. Sen. Robert La Follette (R-Wis.): 6:11 a.m.
3. Sen. Wayne Morse (I-Ore.): 10:14 a.m.
2. D’Amato: 11:18 a.m.
1. Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-S.C): 12:06 p.m.
A profile of Ta-Nehisi Coates over at The New York Observer — “Fear of A Black Pundit” — makes clear the point that “the man has arrived.” Coates writes for the Atlantic about race, the Civil War, America, music and a host of other subjects:
For Mr. Coates, the job of the writer, even the pundit, is not to persuade. “The job of the writer should be one of humility, I think, one of being ignorant and learning—not to stand up and pretend to know everything,” he said. “I’m not a consultant or a race expert.”
Indeed, Mr. Coates is particularly anxious about being seen as some kind of black spokesman. And even Stephen Colbert poked fun at this idea when, in January, Mr. Coates appeared on The Colbert Report and the host asked him: “Are you guys still all excited about this first black president thing, or have you gotten over that?”
Mr. Coates says he is uninspired by the emails he receives telling him how his writing has helped someone win an argument. “That ain’t my burden. I don’t write to help others with their racism, and I’m not here to educate you,” he said. “I’m here to be insanely curious.”
Coates talked with Fresh Air in 2009 about his memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Listen here.
Image of Coates via the Brooklyn Book Festival/Flickr