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Take a pill

George Bernard ShawWilliam ShakespeareWikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Only yesterday I posted about the hissy that Buzzfeed pitched over literally in the figurative sense. Today at Slate Simon Akam is railing against bridezilla and chillax and a handful of other contemporary constructions that he finds inelegant.*

Lord knows I agree with many of his dislikes. I've never watched Bridezillas; reality TV shows make me break out in hives. I did use chillax in a post once, but only for mild shock effect. Wikipedia may be a loathsome construction, but the graver problem is its suspect claim to accuracy and reliability.

So why (you saw this coming, didn't you?) am I about to lump Mr. Akam with Ms. Misener of Buzzfeed? Because charging your blunderbuss with rusty nails and shards of glass and blasting away at nonce words is an idle occupation. Bromance will either make a place for itself in the language or mercifully fade away with the genre it names. You and I and Mr. Akam will have very little to do with it.

After a fair bit of venting, Mr. Akam writes about what he considers responsible punning. I love a good one myself. In one of my favorites, the late Michael Flanders of Flanders and Swann renders "No smoke without fire" as "nil combustibus pro fumo."** But the pun is and was and always shall be such an inherently low form, prone to groaners, that efforts to elevate it are as idle as carrying on about ephemera.

You don't like the word bootylicious? Don't use it. It irritates you when a writer uses it? read somebody else. Really, this is not complicated.

 

 

*Curiously, he includes bardolatry (Bard of Avon plus idolatry, for excessive reverence of William Shakespeare) among twenty-first-century lapses in taste and judgment, though the OED cites George Bernard Shaw from 1901. Perhaps he should read more widely. Or research.)

**Ask someone who remembers Harold Macmillan's premiership why this is funny.


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