Saturday, June 23, 2007

Are there grafs in blooks?

There are two ways to spell "Renaissance," one of which I dislike. Doesn't matter: that disliked version is a legitimate, recognized variant of the word, and is to be accepted as such. Furthermore, that is how it should be.

Such liberality does not extend to the internet-created mistake "medireview," nor do I tolerate such frontal assaults on the language as "irregardless" and "thru." They are monstrous.

Which is why I was delighted to find this story this morning, in the online Telegraph: what, indeed, is the most irritating internet word?
But while the internet may be responsible for the greatest blossoming of new phrases since Shakespeare it has also been blamed for some of the most irritating.

Now a poll has revealed the web-related words that drive most computer users up the wall. "Folksonomy" was voted the most annoying new phrase in a survey to mark the 10th anniversary of the word "web-log"., not entirely. I've never encountered some of these words outside the Telegraph story itself. I refer to "folksonomy" and to " blook," although, yes, "folksonomy" is irksome, and "blook" should be a hanging offense in any civilized community. But others, it seems to me, were created out of necessity -- "blog," and "blogosphere," and "podcast," for example. Need noted. Word created. Done.

I demand equal time in a room, alone, with those 2000 poll respondents, for an offense of their own: they omitted (oh, it's all spite, I'm sure of it) some of the monstrosities I would have included. Where is "graf," eh? Where is "lede?" Where is the here's-proof-of-my-hipness "money quote?"

Zinsser noted, decades ago, that "ripped off" had graduated from slang to English because it filled a legitimate need in a colorful, vital way. He was right, too. I would extend the same consideration to "blog" and to "burn a CD." But "blook" and "lede" offer us nothing: they serve only to corrupt the mother tongue.

YouGov should conduct this poll again, and often, and the Telegraph should report the results. It should in fact be celebrated throughout the, er, the blogosphere. Absitively! There should not, I hasten to add, be any "ledes" or, heaven help us, "money quotes." Nor should a collection of the findings be published as a "blook." We have enough problems already.

Why, enough, in fact, to fill a ... well, not a "blook." Not if I can help it.


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