I bring glad tidings for Festivus 2013! Last week Denver celebrated its second annual Beer Festivus (“A Beer Festival for the Rest of Us!”). There’s a Festivus pole constructed of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans inside the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, erected by “artist/protester/drinker of cheap beer Chaz Stevens” to protest the Nativity scene in the same government building. And I’m back for the fifth consecutive year with a public Airing of Grievances, one of the canonical rites of this defiantly non-canonical holiday.
If you go in for tradition, Festivus is celebrated on December 23. But we Festivusians say feh! to tradition. We also say, “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!”
Grievance the First.
Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818 by Henry Sands Brooks, needs no apostrophe in its name. But “women’s” and “men’s” certainly do require apostrophes.
Page 35, “1818: Our Lifestyle Magazine,” Issue 01, Fall 2013. Heavy, creamy stock; arty photos of BB products; high-minded essays on subjects like “The Art of the Handwritten Note.”
It’s not as though BB doesn’t know better.
Same catalog, page 49.
Grievance the Second.
Something smells funny here, Target.
Oder is a river in Central Europe. Odor is what needs controlling.
Grievance the Third.
How much does that upgrade cost, Taco Bell?
.99¢? That’s 99/100ths of a cent. I’m going to hold them to it.
Grievance the Fourth.
Fashion tip: Avoid garments that make you look like a wide whale.
Grievance the Fifth.
I love the look of these shoes on the Anthropologie website, and I’m sad that I didn’t snap them up when they were available in my size (6.5, in case anyone has a spare pair). But that doesn’t mean I condone “harkening back,” an error I see all too frequently.
If you must use this archaism, it’s harking back, from an old hunting expression. Hearken means “listen.” There is no hearken back, and definitely no harken back.
Grievance the Sixth.
Finding fault with real-estate listings is almost too easy, but I can’t resist chortling about this Caldecott Properties description of a $750,000 loft in Oakland’s Jack London Square.
I suppose “flotsom” [sic] and jetsam could be somebody’s idea of whimsy and surprise, but speaking as someone who’s seen rather too much of that floating effluent, thanks but no thanks.
Grievance the Seventh.
Oh, the irony.
“The Post-Literate Era, with a vengence [sic].”
I’m not going to publish the name of the prominent Midwestern branding agency that sent me this email, but I will link to the agency’s tweet that duplicated the misspelling.Consider this another proof of McKean’s Law, or a corollary thereof: “Any proclamation about the deficient literacy skills of others will contain at least one demonstration of one’s own deficiencies in that area.”
Grievance the Eighth.
Ground coffee: appealing. Coffee grounds: not so much.
And the name of this coffee, spotted at Paper Source?
Yes, ’tis yet another ’Tis the Season.
Grievance the Ninth.
Commenter Nadya pointed to this one almost a year ago, and I’m sorry to say it’s still pervasive.
The Karen Kane copy spotted by Nadya. (The dress is out of stock.)
Surplus (excess) is a homophone of surplice (originally a clerical garment, from super + pellicum; later “a garment in which the two halves of the front cross diagonally”), but they are not synonymous. “Surplus” has specific connotations in the garment industry (see “army/navy surplus”). Combined with “plus size,” it’s a particularly regrettable error.
Grievance the Tenth.
Circle the naming bandwagons! I’ve been making lists and posting them on Pinterest:
Cutesy Names (Etsy, Keepsy, Flexsy…)
Boxy Names (BoxBee, CatchBox, DropBox…)
Y for an I (Uplynk, Lyft, Tylt…)
Gratuitous Umlauts and Other Needless Diacritical Marks (Clöudz, Skindinävia, Grindenstèin…)
Zen Names (ZenDesk, Zenify, ZenPayroll…)
X & Y Names (Bib & Tuck, Rut & Circle, Time & Silence…)
And from The Name Inspector, The Wall of Namifying.