Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Who’s in Charge Here?

WORDmeister’s Note: Yesterday’s WORD on Cheez Doodles lauded Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten’s celebration of “Cheez Doodle” and his lament on the death of the English language. For context, we turn once more to our English Lit classes, when we actually used to read books, yo?

“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’

“‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

“‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that's all.’

“Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. ‘They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs: they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

“‘Would you tell me please,’ said Alice, ‘what that means?

“‘Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. ‘I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’

“‘That's a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

“‘When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘I always pay it extra.’”

—Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-1898) , writer and impenetrable WORDster.

Editor’s Note: Did I just write, “yo”?!

PeezPix: Drowning Party . . . whitewater rafting on the Trinity

NEWSNOTE: National Public Radio’s ombudsman Alicia C. Shepard, comes to Utah State University today for a series of conversations on journalism, including her Morris Media & Society Lecture at noon today: “The Promise and Perils of Social Media,” Come on down! USU Performance Hall. Maybe we can get her to address the “Cheez Doodles Issue.” And “Yo.”

Alicia C. Shepard talks with USU students after a public affairs reporting class yesterday.

NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.

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