Item: Writing in 1936 to William Saroyan, H.L. Mencken said, “I note what you say about your aspiration to edit a magazine. I am sending you by this mail a six-chambered revolver. Load it and fire every one into your head. You will thank me when you get to Hell and learn from other editors how dreadful their job was on earth.”
If you have aspirations yourself, Baltimore’s Urbanite magazine is looking for an editor-in-chief. Here is a link:
I do not supply firearms.
Item: Carol Fisher Saller discloses at The Subversive Copy Editor Blog that by the end of the month she will be contributing to a new blog, Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, along with Lucy Ferriss, Allan Metcalf, Geoffrey Pullum, and Ben Yagoda. That should prove to be some high-powered blogging.
Item: David Bentley Hart has entered the lists at Johnson, followed by a pageboy named A Lyttle. Although Mr. Lyttle’s comments seldom rise above the level of schoolyard taunting (R.L.G. and I, for example, are ignorant journalists; I am “barely literate” and R.L.G. is a “dolt”), he does make occasional revelatory remarks.
One such: “Transpire does not mean ‘occur’ in English according to Webster's 2nd, Chamber's, and the OED (at least, the OED I have).” He relies upon Webster’s Second, published in 1934, and presumably the 13-volume OED completed in 1933. If you asked him a question about physics, he’d likely turn to the 1911 Britannica.
Item: A colleague tweeted the other day in mild concern over wearing a dress for the second time in a week, owing to the exigencies of laundry. I saw the tweet and teased her, but had not the presence of mind to recall this passage from Northanger Abbey:
“It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biassed by the texture of their muslin, and how unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged, the mull or the jackonet. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.”
(Mull here is not the Scottish promontory but a variety of muslin.)
Item: A cheering indication that sanity has not yet been extinguished in the Republic. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, having appointed a Muslim to the bench, reacted to expressions of alarm that this would introduce Sharia into the courts. Responding directly to the criticism, the governor said: “Sharia law has nothing to do with this. It's crazy. This Sharia law business is crap; it's crazy and I'm tired of dealing with crazies.”
As are we all.