Sunday, November 19, 2006

Word Freak Paul Muldoon

Charles McGrath in his exceptional New York Times article Word Freak, informs us about the remarkable poetry of Paul Muldoon. McGrath writes:

"Just about everyone except Muldoon thinks his poetry is often difficult. When I suggested to him once that his work is sometimes hard to follow, he shook his head and seemed almost offended. “I’m not all that keen on the idea that every poem should be full of allusions,” he said, and he added that what he strove for always was clarity. “It’s mostly a matter of clearing away,” he said. “The way Frost did.” But then after a pause, he added: “It’s hard to make a poem these days that is absolutely clear and direct — if the poem is really to be equal to its era. This is not an era in which clarity and directness, however much we hope for them, are entirely justifiable, because so much is unclear and indirect. I’m not just talking about willed obfuscation and crookedness, though, God knows, there’s plenty of that. I’m just talking about a realization that very little is as it seems, that everything has within it massive complexities — maybe even the inappropriateness of being certain about things. A proper awareness that things are just not at all as they seem — one would wish for more of that, particularly on the political front. Wouldn’t you love to hear the president or someone say, ‘Well, you know, I’m not absolutely clear on that’?”"

Muldoon is also the member of a rock band, Rockett, which sings lyrics written by him. McGrath gives the following example from “Meat and Drink,” a love song from the band’s second CD, “Standing Room Only, which contains this stanza:

"I’m through with hitting the sake
With Kenzo and Miyake
I’m done with Valpol and polenta
With Oscar de la Renta
Now the joint is pastry-cased
Enough of the modus vivendi
Of Ferragamo and Fendi
No mooching through Balducci’s
With Pucci and Gucci
Finding nothing to my taste.

Hey, this guy is really good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Business Jargon - Green Weenies and Due Diligence

Dana Sanchez at The Herald in Bradenton, Manatee and Sarasota, Florida (thank you Bradentonians for this tip) has an article "Using a language that works: Jargon makes the business world go round", reviewing a book documenting business jargon, written by auto salvage magnate Ron Sturgeon and entitled "Green Weenies and Due Diligence". It is an education.

Truthiness and Podcast Words of the Year 2005

Well, we have said it along about the humanities, and now it has hit the world in general.

Via email from Bradenton, Florida (thank you) containing snips of articles in The Herald, we discover that The American Dialect Society (ADS) in its 16th annual words of the year vote, has chosen "truthiness" as the Word of the Year 2005, i.e. as the word best reflecting the year 2005. According to the ADS:

"Truthiness refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true."

It used to be that we now call "truthiness" was simply "wishful thinking".

That same society also voted "podcast" as "the most useful word" of 2005, with podcast defined as "a digital feed containing audio or video files for downloading to a portable MP3 player. From the brand name MP3 player iPod + broadcast."

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