On “Internetese”

A column in the Washington Post today about the language of the web world piqued my interest. I have some frustration with the whimsical nature of the “words” used in the industry. I responded to the columnist, Melissa Bell.  Here’s the conversation that followed: As an English major who ended up working in I.T., nothing frustrates me more than the dozens of completely made-up words I encounter daily.  Trying to complete basic tasks or read a short paper is an effort in discerning intangible, untranslatable words.  Learning anything new about programming requires a linguistic patience that is painful to summon.  It might be a heretic position, but I don’t even like that programming languages are called “languages.” Response: Brian, heretical or not, I’m glad to hear it. I think one of the major challenges in getting a newsroom to go digital is that people who build their careers around words have …

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The ‘Capote’ film and ‘In Cold Blood’

I was interested to watch the film after finishing the book, and my interest was definitely rewarded.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s ‘Best Actor’ Oscar was well deserved.  One of the first statements the Capote character makes in the film, after arriving in Kansas, is “I don’t care if they catch the killers or not.”  In a room full of the KBI investigators, this comment doesn’t go over particularly well.  For students wondering about objectivity, however, the character makes his point clear:  he is going to be a non-discriminatory observer.  At least until the killers are caught, and he develops a fascination with Perry Smith. The inclusion of Harper Lee in the film was unexpected.  As I read In Cold Blood, I had no idea Capote was traveling with another author who helped him out periodically with community relations and research.  I had heard before they were friends, but wasn’t aware to …

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