Last week’s headlines were full of bovine references. I’m not talking about the usual bull: This was all about a fake cow with hundreds of thousands of (presumably) real Twitter followers—a cowfluencer, you might say—that’s being sued by a sitting U.S. congressman.
The cow in question (1,200 followers on March 18, 634,000 followers on March 24):
The congressman (404,000 followers):
Yes, Devin Nunes of California’s Central Valley, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is suing Twitter over a parody account that tweets hashtags like #TheMooovement and #ProtectTheHerd and mocks the “udderly worthless” congressman, who owns a dairy farm not in his home county, as he often boasts, but in far-off Iowa. Nunes is also suing a parody account called Devin Nunes’ Mom and a couple of non-anonymous accounts, all of which he claims “repeatedly tweeted and retweeted abusive and hateful content” about him. He’s asking for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. Because Nunes is a public figure, the suits have little chance of succeeding, but they’ll keep a herd of lawyers busy for a while.
No, notthat “lit.” These brand names are inspired by literature and borrowed from the language of … well, language. Why? I can only guess. Maybe they want to communicate something about creativity and inspiration, but who knows? The names appear literary, but the stories their owners are telling are mysteries. And sometimes, as Dr. Freud might have said, a trend is just a trend.
Last week wine distributor Lot18 and MGM – producer of the Hulu streaming series The Handmaid’s Tale – announced one of the more harebrained merchandising collabs of recent years: three wines named after the show’s most prominent characters, Offred, Ofglen, and Serena Joy. It went about as badly as you might expect, and within 24 hours the wines had disappeared from the Lot18 website.
“Most verbs stay basically the same in different grammatical roles. ‘Walk’ looks like ‘walks’ and ‘walked.’ But the word ‘be’ looks nothing like the word ‘am,’ which looks nothing like the word ‘were.’” (Arika Okrent for Curiosity.)
When I wrote about mansplain, in September 2010, the earliest citation I found for the word was from an April 2009 Urban Dictionary entry. Now lexicographers at the OED have antedated mansplaining to a May 2008 comment about the TV show “Supernatural.”Katherine Connor Martin, Oxford University Press’s head of US dictionaries, says the OED usually waits a decade or so before adding new words, but makes exceptions when a word “is deemed important enough.” (Quartz)
The Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice – literally, “the point at which the sun seems to stand still” – occurred at 9:24 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, June 20. But for some brands, the solstice never ends.
Last November the film director and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola opened a new restaurant in Geyserville (Sonoma County). It has an unusual menu for a California Wine Country restaurant, or indeed any California restaurant: fry bread tacos, venison chili, rotisserie prairie chicken, pine ice cream. It’s located inside a winery with a historic name: Virginia Dare. And then there’s the six-syllable name of the restaurant itself: Werowocomoco.
How do you translate a colloquial, nonliteral expression like Trainwreck—the title of the new Amy Schumer feature film—into non-English languages? IMDb has a list of global akas; Mashable has helpfully re-translated some of them. (Not included in the Mashable list: Y de repente tú (“And suddenly you”), probably the most romantically inclined of the bunch. In France, by the way, the official title is Crazy Amy—yes, in English.
Translation of the French Canadian title, Cas désespéré.
Three guys were watching HBO’s “Silicon Valley” when it occurred to them to create a dictionary of jargon used on the show. The result is Silicon Valley Dictionary, where you’ll find definitions for terms like This changes everything (“Nothing has changed. Pure marketing”) and Awesome journey (“used when a startup has failed”).