Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Language'

New Zealand media invent new word, but stick with same old journalism standards

A new word has entered the English language courtesy of the New Zealand media. The word is “urinator” and it doesn’t appear in any dictionary in my bookshelf, which is full of dictionaries. Spellcheck hasn’t heard of it either, but then Spellcheck hasn’t heard of “spellcheck”.

So what is a “urinator”? Presumably someone who passes urine, which includes every man, woman and child on the planet and – I may be corrected on this – all animals.

What distinguished Michael Aitken from most urniators was that he urinated in the aisle of an aeroplane, spraying himself and other passengers. He was drunk and out of it and has no real memory of the event.

Is this news? Well, it probably is.    Read the rest of this entry »

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How come it’s OK to call a man ‘a bastard’, but you can’t call a woman ‘a bitch’? Just asking, Dear Heart.

I have been pondering the difference between ‘a bitch’ and ‘a bastard’, and ‘a total bitch’ and ‘a total bastard’. The reason for my pondering is that I’ve observed that while a man may not relish being called ‘a bastard’ or even ‘a total bastard’, he is unlikely to feel that it is the ultimate insult, requiring pistols at dawn. A woman, on the other hand, will react extremely badly to being called ‘a bitch’ and will consider being called ‘a total bitch’ a legitimate defence to a charge of murder.

To resolve this mystery, all you have to do is attempt to soften the impact of each word by attaching a positive epithet to it. For example: a handsome bastard, an attractive bastard, a sexy bastard, a brilliant bastard. Each of these combinations suggests approval or perhaps envy. Even more negative epithets still have this sense of grudging admiration: a ruthless bastard, a devious bastard, a self-serving bastard, a calculating bastard, a cheating bastard, a rich bastard. There’s the envy again. How come he gets away with it when I can’t?

Now try softening the word ‘bitch’: a beautiful bitch, an attractive bitch, a sexy bitch, a brilliant bitch. It doesn’t work. The noun is too powerful for the adjective. It is laden with contempt. The ‘bitch’ might be beautiful, attractive, sexy or brilliant but, spoken by a man, each phrase conveys less admiration or respect that a sense of endangered male status. ‘What she needs…’   Read the rest of this entry »

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I am offered but reject a six-figure-sum from several media outlets. The reasons why.

six-figure-sum broadcaster with (real) icon

 

Over the past week several media outlets have offered me a six-figure-sum. It’s not the first time they’ve done this. In fact it’s being going on for years. It won’t surprise you to know that they want me to keep quiet about this. But, as an iconic broadcaster and media commentator, I refuse to be muzzled. I intend to speak out. So here goes.

Ladies and gentlemen of the mass media, I reject your repeated offers of a six-figure-sum. They are tiresome and stupid. I will never accept them. And I invite you now to cease, desist and stop.   Read the rest of this entry »

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The longest words in the English language

Here’s a little light relief for the language buffs:

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Stephen Fry on pedantry.

Sketch by M. Haywood

Max Cryer sent me this lovely piece by Stephen Fry on the idiocy of pedantry in everyday language. 

It’s about six minutes long.

Enjoy – but please, no more of the comma debate!

http://vimeo.com/15412319

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