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  • Who You Calling ‘Snowflake’?

    Published: 5/12/2016
    After the presidential election, a Montclair, N.J., store owner invited some like-minded souls to paint a mural on the boarded-up windows of her shop: a multicolored heart and, under a rainbow, the wo ... Read more
  • Post-Truth and Chaos

    Published: 2/12/2016
    I don’t know when prefixes stopped meaning what we think they mean, but it was a long time ago. I’m just wrapping up a course in recent American prose, for instance, where the term postmodernism keeps ... Read more
  • Travails With My ‘Aunt’

    Published: 1/12/2016
    Simon says “ahnt” I’ve written before about a trend I first noticed in my students, then observed in the wider world: eschewing the common or standard spelling, pronunciation, or ver ... Read more
  • Thanksgiving Victuals

    Published: 21/11/2016
    This week many of us are thinking about or shopping for Thanksgiving victuals. If, that is, we are people who use the word victuals . Otherwise, we’re thinking about or shopping for food. The word vic ... Read more
  • Literally, Seriously?

    Published: 17/11/2016
    In the days after last week’s election, I seemed to encounter one observation everywhere. “The American establishment took Trump literally but not seriously, whereas his supporters appear ... Read more
  • Words of Solace, Words of Action

    Published: 16/11/2016
    Votes did not save us from the precipice last week. Yet, so often, language has buoyed us — given us wings, or perhaps simply currents of warm air, to carry us onto steadier ground. I have no such wor ... Read more
  • Election Lexicon RIP

    Published: 8/11/2016
    Every election has its own lexicon, or sublexicon, a cohort of words and phrases that go beyond my opponent and interest groups . In 2008, we had financial meltdown , change , country first , aloof , ... Read more