If you have a friend that you talk to on a regular basis, either over coffee or gchat, you’ll start to notice certain words that she uses. You have your own signature words, too, even though you may not even realize it.
Matthew J.X. Malady explores fingerprint words this week in Slate. How do we adopt them? How should we feel when “our” words get picked up by the masses?
“There is a lot of ambivalence there,” he says. “On the one hand we like that people admire or respect our choices. And to some extent we like being a leader. But there’s something also uncomfortable about people mimicking us. We want people to say, ‘Oh, that’s great,’ but not to start imitating us.”
“Solvitur ambulando.” –St. Augustine
I used to drive by a church that had this St. Augustine quote on its entrance sign. “It is solved by walking.” The church sat along a very busy road, so I only ever saw the sign as I was sitting in traffic. What a way to stick it to us who had to commute! Read more
Shut up and take my money, Handpresso, maker of portable espresso machines.
To be honest, you had me at “Hand” but then you really nailed it with the “presso” part. How did you know I was the perfect person to which to send that press release this morning?
At any rate, I can’t wait to use you:
Before elephants trample me.
Or while I’m paragliding in Austria.
Come to think of it, I may not be worldly enough to buy your portable espresso sets. But I do like the idea of being able to have a cup of espresso anywhere, anytime. Good luck!
Draft is a pretty cool writing tool.
The Mapping Sheets add-on in Google Drive is pretty darn cool.
I’ve long enjoyed the website/Twitter feed Letters of Note, which resurrects correspondence between famous people or personal notes recalling significant historical events.
In cleaning up my office today, I stumbled upon my own letter of note from a since-departed university professor who taught a class on “The End of History.” Professor Albert Mott was an ascot-wearing eccentric who didn’t blink an eye when I told him I was going to write my class project on 1970s British punk music. (Laughably, I think I titled my piece “No Time to Be 21” after this song by The Adverts.) I’m still not sure where I was going with that, but he made sure to loan me his copy of “Sid and Nancy” for additional research.
I can’t remember the last time that I received a personal letter like this (i.e., one that wasn’t an email). Of course, I can’t remember the last letter I sent either. At any rate, I’m pleased to get this glimpse back at myself and a few of my post-collegiate thoughts.
The end of history. The end of letters.
Brands! They're just like us.