Friday, June 08, 2007

Never knowingly understood

After a long day’s transcribing yester-afternoon, I arrived in the pub about 9ish. Lots of fun drinking catch-up and I got to see folk I’ve not seen in ages – and to buy the birthdaying one some beer.

Amidst the shop talk was some stuff about semantics and how the foolish plebeian masses will use some words. Now, I generally have quaking rage and hellfire at snooty finger-pointing smugness of things like Never Mind the Full Stops, and had to buy the Dr a second copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves because the first one accidentally got written over, torn, thrown across the room and even an occasional bit stamped on.

I don’t really care if people are confused by semi-colons or slap apostrophes any old which ways. We all have our blindspots and which is worse; some wobbly punctuation or the institution of the monarchy? (Before you write in, that is a joke from Time Trumpet.)

But this is also my trade. And tedious etymological one-upmanship is moderately less annoying than listing Things That Are Wrong With Dr Who.

There were the usual chestnuts, like the difference between “infer” and “imply”, and how you’re “jealous” of something you possess and “envious” of something you don’t. Then there was people who say “quite amusing” when they mean “I didn’t actually laugh”. I also got to share that a teacher at my school insisted “knackered” was a naughty sexual swearword, and not slang to mean “exhausted like the old horse sent off to be dog food”.

A particular joy among my fellow mercenary hacks was people who claim to be “managers” but do their best to shirk any responsibility. And I dreamt up a handy definition, which I shall share with you now for free:

A manager manages people. If you don’t have underlings, you’re an administrator. (Not, I hasten to add, that that's a pejorative term or not a noble and fine profession.)


deejsaint said...

That sounds remarkably like a conversation I had with you about three weeks ago. Are you re-running classic old conversations until sweeps week, or something?

0tralala said...

Er... you were one of the ones I was talking to last night.

Robert said...

in which case you were having the same conversation as you did about three weeks ago, as I've just heard you say all this and I wasn't there at the Tav...

Leslie said...

From a north American perspective, "knackered" does sound pretty dirty, a la "knocked up." FYI.