“This is, without a doubt, the most uninformed, toady, poorly written, categorically untrue statement I have ever seen a President of the United States make.” That’s what reporter Robin Wright said Joe Cirincione, a nuclear-security expert and president of Ploughshares Fund, had told her for a story published November 20 in the online edition of the New Yorker. Had she misheard? Surely Cirincione had said “toadying,” the adjective that means “in an obsequious manner”?
But no: the quote in fact reproduced a tweet Cirincione had posted earlier that day.
This is, without a doubt, the most uninformed, imbecilic, toady, poorly-written, categorically untrue statement I have ever seen from a president of the United States. A complete disgrace. https://t.co/9eqoWFeroX
Toady is a word with a colorful past, about which more in a bit. It’s a noun (“servile parasite,” “fawning flatterer”) or a verb (“to behave like a toady”), but not a modifier. Not any longer, that is.
The Toadies in Super Mario World are neither sycophantic humans nor toads; they resemble a cross between Harry Potter and a high school’s eagle mascot. Source: Mariowiki.
The November fires were caused in part by a drought so severe that it merits its own name: negative rain. “Every year we have a certain amount of rain that we expect as a result of historical patterns,” Andy Wood, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told The Daily Beast. “Negative precipitation [comes] when you have a departure from that.” When there isn’t enough rain, the air gets “thirsty” because it can’t pull enough moisture from the ground. A new tool developed by NOAA, the Evaporative Demand Drought Index, or EDDI, measures this “thirst.” It’s being used by farmers and ranchers in the West, and has also come up in analyses of the California fires.
Blog bonus: The Camp Fire has virtually leveled Paradise, a once-lovely city of nearly 27,000 in Butte County, northeast of Sacramento. It’s a pretty memorable name, not least for its irony. But Donald Trump got the name wrong – not once but twice.
What's interesting to me is not that Trump sometimes misspeaks but how he reacts when he realizes. Rather than apologize, he'll always say "or (the correct word)," as if it's a subjective choice between the correct word and the equally valid word he used. https://t.co/4QFhIEGbJZ
UPDATE: The Baffler has a good story about the political and economic context for the fires, with a focus on the role played by the regional utility company Pacific Gas & Electric: “Despite the overwhelming evidence that PG&E has been responsible for some of California’s most grievous man-made disasters, time and time again, their executives have avoided substantive punishment in lieu of multimillion-dollar payouts to victims who have brought class-action lawsuits.”
This month we give thanks for WOTY, dictionaries, diet jargon, naming advice, and more.
Word-of-the-year season kicks off in traditional fashion with the Oxford Dictionaries selection. This year it’s toxic, as in toxic masculinity and toxic chemical. Interestingly, toxic derives from the Greek term for word for “poisoned arrow,” but only the “arrow” part. Toxic won out over other words on the shortlist, including incel, gaslighting,big dick energy, and gammon, the last of which was a Fritinancy word of the week in May. Oxford’s word of the year is “a word of expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.” Read more.
In the lead-up to last week’s midterm elections, a friend of mine was sending as many as 1,500 texts a day to likely voters in swing districts: areas that had a better than 50 percent chance of switching from Republican to Democrat. I was hugely impressed until I read about Oliver Butler, a New York theater director who teaches a class on text activism, or textavism. “On a good day,” wrote Anna Russell in “The Rules of Textavism,” in the November 12 issue of the New Yorker, “Butler will send nearly three thousand texts; on an exceptional day, he will send ten thousand.” Recently, wrote Russell, “in the course of twenty-four hours, texters from MoveOn, where Butler volunteers, sent more than two million messages urging registered Democrats to vote in November.”
Oliver Butler’s Twitter avatar. His bio describes him as a “Theater Director and Hat Baron.”
“Built to outcomfort and overlast,” from Woodard, an outdoor furniture company. (Why not overlast and outcomfort?) Hat tip: Andy Behr, who saw this ad in the November issue of House Beautiful.
“Out-deliver. Out-delight. Out-disrupt” on the Informatica home page. (Mere disruption no longer suffices; now it has to be out-disruption.) I saw the same message on an Informatica billboard at a San Francisco approach to the Bay Bridge.
Informatica is everywhere.
Out-innovate! Out-perform! Out-impossible! Can we just call them InformOUTica?