• The future will be being

    by  • October 23, 2013 • 0 Comments

    For Slate’s Lexicon Valley blog, Ben Yagoda ponders why so many of his students use the archaic “amongst” instead of “among.” He notes that the 18th century term had been pretty well put to rest by 1994, but it launched a vigorous resurrection with the millennium, given new life by those born in the...

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    Exasperating certitude

    by  • September 22, 2013 • 0 Comments

    My local paper, the Greenville Daily Reflector, runs a page two feature every day that both fascinates and confounds me. It puts “Bless Your Heart” behind its online paywall, so I won’t link it here. That uniquely Southern locution can express anything from admiration to pity to outright contempt, but the DR’s selection of...

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    The oldest shop in Florence

    by  • July 3, 2013 • 0 Comments

    It is a little surprising that the oldest shop in Florence, Italy, opened in 1910. Somehow you’d expect a few concerns operating for centuries in one space, like Berry Bros. & Rudd in London. Still, Florentines and tourists have bought cameras and film, eyeglasses and shades at Umberto Dei Ottica Fotografia for 103 years....

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    Let me see

    by  • April 18, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Do I have this straight? Because some nutjobs might blow themselves up making meth, I have to show ID to buy decongestant, and can be put in prison for buying more than a certain amount each month. But we must let other nutjobs kill people because it would horribly infringe liberty to check if...

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    Culture conservatism …and the other kind

    by  • January 31, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I had just finished reading E.D. Hirsch’s “A Wealth of Words” in City Journal when I learned our newly installed governor, Pat McCrory, had appeared earlier in the day on Bill Bennett’s radio show to talk about his plan for higher education. McCrory said he had directed staff to draft a plan that would...

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    Of Pindar, mythy movies, Lance and Manti…

    by  • January 19, 2013 • 0 Comments

    The media ought to stay out of athletes’ private lives. All that matters is what happens on the field. Right? Except, of course, when there’s a sweet, inspiring story about pluck, determination and overcoming obstacles. A girlfriend who just happened to die the same day as your grandmother, say. Or beating cancer and raising...

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    Sports, media and women — Chet’s still in the truck

    by  • January 9, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I teach a class titled “Sports Media Survey,” about the charmed synergy of sports and media, from hunter-gatherer days to the present. It’s offered only during fall semester, but sometimes I wish it ran all year long — there’s so much fodder. Almost certainly, we’d be talking about the apotheosis of (a former) Miss...

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    Appearance, narrative, reality and truth

    by  • January 6, 2013 • 0 Comments

    A treasured theme of my high school English papers has been troubling me again lately. I used to think of the tensions between appearance and reality in terms of misapprehension or deception — Oedipus unwittingly bedding his mother, or Viola pretending to be a man in “Twelfth Night.” I suppose this suited my teen...

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