In the Mirror Dimly; Outside the Valley, We’re Not Nearly as Shiny

I’m catching up on my bookmarks this afternoon and finally got to reading the Schott’s Vocab column in last Monday’s New York Times. Author Ben Schott describes his blog as “a repository of unconsidered lexicographical trifles — some serious, others frivolous, some neologized, others newly newsworthy.”

Last weekend, he asked readers to consider new collective nouns for the “modern phenomena.”  Collective nouns, for those needing a grammar refresher, are those weird and wondrous descriptors for groups of creatures: a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions.   In his column, Schott tells us that many of these collective nouns were first described in the Book of St. Albans, published in 1486.

Schott’s readers rose to the challenge, and while many of their newly coined collective nouns are humorous, they didn’t paint technophiles in the most flattering light.  Perhaps they are a reminder to those of us who live and breath new technology “phenomenon”  not to take ourselves too seriously.

Herewith, some of the unflattery of Schott’s wordy, if not nerdy, readers:

  • A twitter of twits
  • A bore of bloggers
  • A babble of pundits
  • A cruft of programmers
  • A calumny of bloggers
  • A Googol of Googlers
  • A Tube of You’s
  • A book of faces

Sure, it’s just wordplay.  And maybe also, on this long Memorial Day weekend,  a reminder to lift our heads up from our computers once in a while and enjoy a wider world.  (Says she who writes this blog on a Sunday evening with her back to an ocean sunset.)  Logging off now.


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