August 27, 2008

What Sucks

Being sick. Being nauseatingly, staggeringly sick, and for several days. Worse is when there's a warning running around about people dying of processed meat. Makes for an awkward dinner table, don't you know.

There is a slight upside to it, however; I have a chance to read more. I picked up John Humphrys' "Beyond Words: How language reveals the way we live now", and from reading it can recommend Lynne Truss' "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" as the better read. It's not that he's a bad writer, but rather that he's a bit of a curmudgeon.

To his benefit, he does come close to one of my larger complaints about writing scolds: the missed understanding that the spoken and written languages are different things. Spending time with the DJ of a hip-hop station gives him some insight into the very fluid world of language among the young and desperately hip: Humphrys' own experience as a broadcaster with the BBC places him at the opposite pole as his compatriot, and he uses their time together well.

Worst part of being sick: a made a couple pages of notes about how there is a fully developed third form of language out there (no, not LOLspeak, which is simply a variant of spoken taken to a twee extreme). I have no idea where the notes are now, or even if they still exist. When/if I find them, I'll explain.

Humphrys spends most of his time in an unfortunate rant against advertising, officialdom, and kids-these-days, which is less enjoyable than it sounds. But there are some good moments in there, and the book's a quick jaunt. I just wish I hadn't heard so much of it before...


posted by Thursday at 7:12 pm


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