Monday, January 18, 2010

Res ipsa loquitur

"Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o’clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word “paisly” in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name on The New York Times Atlas of the World map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting—by width—all the interesting articles I’ve cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write.”

— P. J. O’Rourke

Saturday, January 16, 2010

That's a word?

Chapter 1: Tess, a 15 year old from Queens, is grounded for five weeks by her parents for drinking and missing curfew.
Chapter 2: Tess starts a Facebook group, 1000 to get tess ungrounded, to rally support against the punishment.
Chapter 3: No go. Parents remain unmoved and Tess remains grounded.

So I know a lot of people are interested in this "unground Tess" story and movement because of what it represents technologically, socially and maybe even psychographically in today's world.

Sure, I can see that. Sort of. Though I have to wonder, what 15 year old really thinks getting a petition from her peers is going to sway her parents? But anyway, there it is, a human interest story about the intersection of adolescence, social networking, the generation gap, autonomy, blah, blah, blah.

Here's what I'm interested in. When did "groundation" become a word? The 15 year old used it to refer to her punishment... and the intrepid reporter promptly adopted it, sans quotes. This is how bad things start, folks. One person doesn't stand up for what's right, and the next thing you know, an entire generation of people are convinced that "groundation" is a real word. Like, that's so not right.