From classic rock to Turner Classic Movies, from Classic Roast coffee to MapQuest Classic, we’re living in a new Classic Era. My new column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the many ways classic, noun and adjective, is used in branding, sports, technology, and other realms.
Full access is restricted to subscribers. Here’s an excerpt:
In April 1985, Coca-Cola — then celebrating its 99th year — announced it would be retiring the original Coke recipe and replacing it with reformulated “New Coke.” The switch was a huge miscalculation, triggering public protests and boycotts. Less than three months later, the company bowed to pressure and brought back the old formula under the name “Coca-Cola Classic.” Finally, in 2009 — long after “New Coke” had disappeared from shelves — Coca-Cola dropped the “Classic.” (It endures in the names of various Coca-Cola Classic sports tournaments and road races.) By then, “classic” had come to signify, to a large part of the population, “the original version” or “the previous version” or even “the good stuff before they started messing with it.”
Read the rest of “Of Coke and Cat Food: The ‘Classics’ Among Us.”
And here’s a blog bonus: In his new book Yes, I COULD Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk, Bill Walsh—a copy editor for the Washington Post and author of two other books on language and usage—devotes a chapter to retronyms, words that “differentiate the original sense of something from a new iteration.” Dairy milk and hen egg are two of his examples. And then there’s this:
Now that all manner of dessert-y concoctions are called martinis merely because they’re served in martini glasses, the menu-journalism community has had to invent the term classic martini. …
Then there’s the daiquiri. If you’re younger than 45, you probably don’t know what that really means. A daiquiri is rum, lime juice and sugar. … “Oh,” you big-city-cocktail-bar-frequenting youngsters are probably thinking right now, “you mean a Hemingway daiquiri!” Uh, right. That seems to be right up there with a classic daiquiri among efforts to indicate that a daiquiri is, in fact, an actual daiquiri.
Extra credit to Walsh for “menu-journalism community.” (I wrote about “The X Community” trope back in 2010.)