I had a little extra time before meeting a friend at SFMOMA to see the “Soundtracks” exhibit (highly recommended), so I took a detour through for the food court of the Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street, looking for interesting brands.
I scored right away. “Interesting” doesn’t even begin to describe Loving Hut.
There is a lot going on here.
This all-vegan fast-food café had just opened for the day and there was already a long line of customers. I stood to the side and marveled at the weird name – a cousin of Pizza Hut, maybe? – and that fantastically hideous logo.
Why do so many robot names sound alike? FastCoDesign put the question to name developer Christopher Johnson, who explained that Kuri, Yui, Yobi, et al. “sound like the kind of names you might give your dog.”
And The Forward’s language columnist, Aviya Kushner, surveyed the whole megillah, observing parenthetically: “Many of us, even if we aren’t senators or linguists, can use a little bit of fun right now, and why not turn to insult-making as stress relief?”
Finally, we bid adieu to the zoo and consider the shit show. Or is it shitshow?
"Shit show" and "shitshow" are neck and neck in our data, and also in the world in general. https://t.co/nFAEvStqG1
“Now that a sneering, orange man-child is sinking his tiny fingers into every aspect of American life, [branding] experts believe activism will become nearly as ubiquitous in the brand world as it is on college campuses.” Let’s see what they have to say.
Normally I’d focus on the verbing of imperfect – an example ofanthimeriaI hadn’t encountered previously. But as it happened I’d already been thinking about another sense of perfect: the grammatical sense. In grammar, perfect doesn't mean “impeccable”; it means “made complete” or “completely done.”
The impetus for my musing was a tweet from @realDonaldTrump, a personal Twitter account, at 5:35 a.m. this morning:
I spotted the sign on Van Ness Avenue, near San Francisco’s Civic Center and some distance from Google headquarters (35 miles away), Pier 48 (four miles away and the site of the Google Cloud Platform Users Conference, which begins today), or any other relevant landmark. It’s a short stroll from the ad to the symphony hall and opera house, but I doubt music aficionados are in the target demographic.
Here, for the benefit of everyone who isn’t fluent in Techlish, is my attempt at decryption:
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus takes a look at how nouns become verbs – and vice versa – in the language of commerce and elsewhere. If you’ve seen ads inviting you to beauty, to movie, or to pumpkin, you’ll know what I mean. But what about to gift, to share, and to contact? All began their lives as nouns before being undergoing the process known as functional shift or anthimeria (and not without controversy, in some cases).
Access to the column is open to all this month! Here’s an excerpt:
Although the examples I’ve cited here are recent, the phenomenon is not. “Flaubert me no Flauberts. Bovary me no Bovarys. Zola me no Zolas,” the novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1937. “And exuberance me no exuberances. Leave this stuff for those who huckster in it...” Facebook may have popularized to friend (the verb has been in widespread use since about 2005), but friend had occasionally been used as a verb since the 1200s, according to the OED. Four and a half centuries before there were mobile text messages, to text meant “to write in text letters” – the large writing used by clerks in the body of a manuscript. (The past-tense form of text still stymies many people. For the record, it’s texted. As linguist Arnold Zwicky pointed out in 2008, “Verbing has always weirded [not weird] language.”)
Gee, it seems like only last week that I brought you tidings of “family” and “museum” being used as verbs. Hang on – it was last week! And now I can make it a trifecta: the cable network TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has launched a new ad campaign that verbifies “movie.”
A new brand campaign for Turner Classic Movies not only puts the emphasis on movies, but turns the word into a verb.
With the slogan “Let’s Movie,” the channel is urging people who love movies—not just the classics—to tune in.
Watch the 60-second spot, which contrary to the mission statement does in fact spotlight classic movies like Casablanca and Ben-Hur, and whose narrator coos, “Let’s live. Let’s love. Let’s go. Let’s movie!”
And mark your calendars: September 19 is Let’s Movie Day. “Hopefully that will get a little buzz,” TCM general manager Jennifer Dorian told B&C, a little plaintively.
By the way, “Let’s Movie” is not to be confused with “Let’s Move,” which is First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity.