Dear Household Opera: OGIC, who introduced me to the pleasures of Edward Gorey once upon a time (and is a fanatical Gorey collector herself), will be pleased by this paragraph in your latest posting:
See Edward Gorey’s L’Heure Bleue, possibly his most beautiful book, which includes dialogue such as “I should like a parsley sandwich,” “To the best of my knowledge they are no longer in season,” and “More is happening out there than we are aware of.” “It is possibly due to some unknown direful circumstance.”
(Incidentally, why in hell won’t somebody reprint The Lavender Leotard, or, Going a Lot to the New York City Ballet?)
Dear Cup of Chicha: OGIC and I really want to see that “little karate-victory-dance” you do when your site turns up on another blogroll. Could you please post a photograph? Or–better yet–a drawing?
Dear God of the Machine: You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at the high number of older-than-40 people who’ve told me that they hate the word “blog” and wish somebody would come up with a better one. After much prayer and reflection, though, I’ve decided that you’re right:
Neologisms for old things come and go, but a blog is a new thing, and with new things first out of the gate nearly always wins. In diction wars you have to pick your battles carefully. If you must complain, complain about something that drains meaning from the language. For years I objected to the coalescence of “amazing,” “awesome,” “remarkable,” and “phenomenal,” as if English were short on synonyms for “good.” This battle was worth fighting because it was over shades of meaning; there is no English word with the precise meaning of “amazing” except “amazing.” But popular usage has bulldozed me…
What’s wrong with “blog” anyway? It is short. It is more or less Anglo-Saxon. It lends itself easily to back-formations for writing a blog (no ugly “-ize” required) and for the author of one, not to mention felicitious derivatives like “blogrolling” and less felicitious but still useful ones like “blogosphere.” The dispute over whether the verb is transitive will sort itself out in time. “Blog” reminds me a great deal of one of the best neologisms of the 20th century, “blurb,” coined by Gelett “I never saw a purple cow” Burgess. It rolls off the tongue less easily, and lacks its onomatopoeic qualities, but has all of its other virtues.
Blog it is. Here endeth the lesson.
Dear Reflections in D Minor: Speaking of neologisms, I know just what you mean:
It’s funny how sometimes this whole Internet thing seems more like real life than real “real life.” And there’s another possible topic for a future post. Why do we talk of “real life” as if life online is not just as real? I sometimes use the term “realspace” to refer to that which is not cyberspace and I’ve seen the word “meatspace” which is more accurate but sort of icky. We need some new words.
OGIC and I are very old friends, but we haven’t seen each other in the flesh for a year–yet we “meet” each day in cyberspace. It isn’t quite as good as dinner and a movie, but it beats nothing all to hell.
Dear Lileks: We may be semi-highbrows around this shop, but I quite liked what you wrote about Norman Rockwell this morning:
I love Klee, but it’s just Klee. I’m not inclined to hang on the wall that SatEvePost cover of the grinning tomboy with the black eye, but if I was asked to write a story about it, I could give you 9000 words. Somehow this makes it bad art.
Dear Eve Tushnet: You must be the first blogger in the known universe to have worked Cat Power and Christ into the same posting. I’m agog.
Dear Asymmetrical Information: Welcome back. About time.
Dear Minor Fall, Major Lift: From now on, we’re spelling it “underwhlemed,” too. It’s better that way.