Sunday, October 11, 2015

Damn you Hugo Lindgren!

Last weekend the arch-nemesis Johnson presumably featured my comment (below) on account of his "reason to rely" verbiage on On Language: switched off, a post of several years ago concerning the New York Times magazine's new editor Hugo Lindgren's mistake to cut the "On Language" column, which, before being taken up by a linguist named Ben Zimmer, was authored by the late, great William Safire.

Johnson, in dismay, directed his readers to "like" the Keep "On Language" in the New York Times Facebook page started by irate NYT readers to convince Hugo Lindgren to keep "On Language" in the NYT.

Sadly, I didn't like the Facebook page itself but, instead, liked Johnson's post on the page. In the end it couldn't be said that the 866 page-likers were of enough influence to sway the direction that Hugo Lindgren was to take the magazine despite Johnson's best effort.

To this day, though, that Facebook page is still in existence; the last entry, dated November 11, 2013, is titled simply: The end of the Lindgren era, with a link to a POLITICO media entry.

As far as I know, Lindgren is still Acting Editor for The Hollywood Reporter. 

Michael Fassbender plays the iGenius

The chunking express

After all these years (damn you Hugo Lindgren!) Johnson still finds reason to rely on Ben Zimmer's "On Language" blog.

But let’s not be misleading. You’ve cited Michael Swan’s quote out of context. He acknowledged in 2010 the need to teach important formulaic expressions, just without forethought to the age of big data.

Here is Zimmer’s full passage containing the graphic inspiration for this weekend’s post:

Though he (Swan) acknowledges, as he told me in an e-mail, that “high-priority chunks need to be taught,” he worries that “the ‘new toy’ effect can mean that formulaic expressions get more attention than they deserve, and other aspects of language — ordinary vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and skills — get sidelined.”

In thanking me for his featured comment Johnson might have noted that one of my sentences (embolden for emphasis) needed a copy edit:

He acknowledged in 2010 the need to teach important formulaic expressions without forethought to the age of big data. [strike: (,) just]

There is normally a red ribbon tied to a featured comment which I couldn't grab in my copy and paste. The graphic inspiration for his post was a picture of Lego construction workers.

The graphic inspiration for my post is a @lanegreene tweet in need of a copy edit.


The 2013 biopic "Jobs" starring Ashton Kutcher grossed only $36m worldwide whereas the unsympathetic "Steve Jobs" should be a box-office hit.