Back on March 27, before the Tip of the Week became a blog, I sent out a message about Schott’s Vocab, the blog written by Ben Schott and hosted by The New York Times. I’ve copied that post below this one for those of you who are interested.
Schott has just announced a “weekend competition” (the weekend, apparently, begins today). It looks to be one of particular interest to word lovers. He writes: “This weekend, co-vocabularists are invited to devise weasel words, euphemisms, dysphemisms and circumlocutions for items in the news.”
All you need to do is leave a comment on the August 14 post on the Schott’s Vocab blog. My favorite one so far is “crash text dummies: those geniuses who text while driving.”
Subject: Schott’s Vocab
This past week, Copyediting columnist Charles Levine asked me whether I’d seen that The New York Times had begun publishing a blog by Ben Schott, called Schott’s Vocab.
I was familiar with Schott from his miscellanies, almanacs, and articles that have appeared in various (mostly British) outlets over the years, including The Daily Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveler, and The Times of London. (A selection of articles is posted on his Web site.) I’ve always appreciated the evident delight he takes in digging up facts and his ability to synthesize them into collections that are nearly always entertaining and quite often thought-provoking. So I was eager to see what he was up to in writing a blog about vocabulary.
In typical fashion, Schott has managed to identify a niche that is just narrow enough to have a clear focus but broad enough to provide him with blog fodder for years: scanning news sites to “find words and phrases that encapsulate the times in which we live or shed light on a story of note,” as the blog’s description says. He doesn’t analyze the terms he finds; he leaves that up to the commenters.
The “value proposition” here, as they say in business-land, is that it’s Schott who’s doing the curating. What he collects is described as “unconsidered lexicographical trifles—some serious, others frivolous, some neologized, others newly newsworthy.” The idea of curated collections is to bring together in one place a group of things one might not otherwise be able to consider as a group. Usually, the things are works of art, museum artifacts, and the like. But almanacs have served the same purpose as collections for centuries—think of Poor Richard’s Almanack, which bore the unique stamp of its “curator,” Benjamin Franklin.
To sample the modern Ben’s vocabulary curating and decide what you think of it, just visit the Schott’s Vocab blog.
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