Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 1015225 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1110 on: March 10, 2015, 02:07:58 pm »
Well, I bet that made your day! Guess it's time for you to start writing 25,000-word articles on the most arcane of subjects!

If I do, will they give me a teaching job at Princeton?  ;D
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1111 on: March 10, 2015, 02:36:07 pm »
Good God! GOOD GOD! I CANNOT believe this!

I just started John McPhee's latest piece on writing (March 9 issue), and I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that as late as the year 2000, John McPhee--JOHN McPHEE--did not know the word sprezzatura.

I was surprised by that, too. But then, my theory is that everybody has surprising little gaps in their knowledge (I knew a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist who once asked whether Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn, or the other way around.)

So what was even more surprising is that McPhee asked a bunch of other people who didn't know, either. It's not THAT arcane a word.

Plus, why rely on asking random people? Why not go to a dictionary or, in the year 2000, the internet?



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1112 on: March 10, 2015, 03:44:10 pm »
I was surprised by that, too. But then, my theory is that everybody has surprising little gaps in their knowledge (I knew a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist who once asked whether Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn, or the other way around.)

That's kind of surprising, too.

Quote
So what was even more surprising is that McPhee asked a bunch of other people who didn't know, either. It's not THAT arcane a word.

Plus, why rely on asking random people? Why not go to a dictionary or, in the year 2000, the internet?

He says he did check a dictionary, Webster's unabridged New International Dictionary, 2nd ed. As for the Internet, I suppose 15 years ago a lot of people, including middle-aged college professors who are noted writers, weren't as Internet savvy then as they are now. But you'd think somebody in the library at Princeton could have found a definition for him, if he'd asked.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the article. I'll probably even read the fiction in this issue, since it's by Stephen King.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1113 on: March 11, 2015, 10:25:12 am »
I didn't know what the word eponymous meant for the longest time. I would come upon it every once in a while and think "I must look up that word" but I didn't have the time for some reason. Then, when I finally did, it was a letdown that such an important sounding word simply meant "of the same name." Now, I have to go look up cynosure. I used to know what it meant but I forgot. Okay, it means "a person or thing that attracts a lot of attention."
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1114 on: March 11, 2015, 11:05:08 am »
Penultimate used to confuse me. It sounds to me like it ought to mean "the last," but it actually means "the next to the last."
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1115 on: March 11, 2015, 01:09:31 pm »
Even though I'm not that far from New York, I never go there to see a show or a play. Nevertheless, one thing I really enjoy about The New Yorker is being able to read about what's going on in the theater world. I don't mean just the reviews; I mean the stuff at the front of each issue, too. For example, I enjoy reading that Lincoln Center is mounting a revival of The King and I, and that Dame Helen Mirren is on stage playing Queen Elizabeth II--again. I don't know why this is, I just know that it is.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1116 on: March 11, 2015, 08:43:15 pm »
I have a few of those words. Some I actually look up and then, by the next time I see them, I've forgotten them.

Latin terms are the worst. I misused "in medias res" not long ago and my 20-year-old son corrected me.  :-\ 

It was fortuitous, though, because once it was brought to my attention I started mulling over the concept more deeply than I had before, and I could see its value. I later added an in medias res scene to a piece I was writing and having trouble with. It was the perfect solution!

I bet John McPhee never did that in any of his writing because he couldn't find anyone who knew what "in medias res" meant.  ;D




Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1117 on: March 13, 2015, 08:50:07 am »
FRiend Lee, did you see the piece in the Feb. 2 Talk of the Town about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar going to an annual Baker Street Irregulars gathering? Apparently he's a big Sherlock Holmes fan -- he used Holmesian techniques to get advantages on the court -- and has recently written a novel about Mycroft Holmes!



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1118 on: March 13, 2015, 09:36:26 am »
FRiend Lee, did you see the piece in the Feb. 2 Talk of the Town about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar going to an annual Baker Street Irregulars gathering? Apparently he's a big Sherlock Holmes fan -- he used Holmesian techniques to get advantages on the court -- and has recently written a novel about Mycroft Holmes!

I read that. It was fun and interesting.  :)
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1119 on: March 13, 2015, 02:39:00 pm »
Yes, I definitely did read that piece! Love the New Yorker. They've got me pegged.
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