Virginia Barton

6 May 2013: Welcome — and this is no blog!

6 May 2013: Welcome — and this is no blog!

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6 May 2013

 

This is no blog. Perish the thought.  Such an ugly, lumpish word. Am I the only person in the entire world who objects to it? I need an alternative.

How about Cyberdiary? Or Biospace? The former sounds like pointy ears Spock’s reminiscences and the latter a green pesticide for a glasshouse.  But, says you, everyone knows what a blog means. Everyone knows what gaga means and it’s still a hideous word, something to do with “g”.

What about Posts scripta? Hello! Or Pensées? But the one is pretentious and the others already bespoke. I would have liked Logbook, in memory of the heroic loser Scott, but this is no book. Nuggets won’t do either – there’s that hard g again, neither will Jottings or Chatter.

I’m rather tempted by Bin… but it could be mistaken for Trash.

So I shall dredge up a decent old word not often used these days but which is ideally suited to the purpose without having to use the “b” word.

Commonplaces.

 

***

 

In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . . A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there . . .”

The few and insignificant thoughts are exactly what will be found  in Commonplaces.

No cash prizes for thinking up a better word but suggestions always welcome.

 

***

 

But this first item is far from insignificant. Have you ever actually met someone who has had a kidney transplant? 44-year-old Sean had one last week and is already back home. Magic.

Some brave person remembered to sign up as a potential donor, or an even braver relation gave permission. If I were Sean I’d want to know who it was that gave this wonderful gift, but I expect he’s just grateful.

 

***

 

(Is Commonplaces rather fey? Trying too hard? Do we all hate it?)

 

 

Comments

7 Comments

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  • George says on: May 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm

     

    BRAVO! I dislike “blog” as well. Swift would be proud of your adoption of his commonplace book.

  • Susie says on: May 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

     

    TOTALLY AGREE! Love Virginia’s point of view. We think alike!

  • Ana V says on: May 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm

     

    In Lithuanian, “blog” is “blogas”, and “blogas” means “bad”. So linguists who do I.T. terminology came up with something like, yes, Cyberdiary (tinklarashtis).

    • ginny says on: May 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

       

      Tinklarashtis is delightful! It could be Tinkerbell’s twin sister, or perhaps a small shell fish, if it wasn’t already a commonplace in Lithuanian. (I knew b–g must be bad somewhere in the world.) What is b–g in French, I wonder?

      • Howard says on: May 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

         

        Spare a kind thought for those poor I.T. people out there who keep our computers running! Did you know BLOG is a corruption of “web log” and made its first appearance in 1999?

        • ginny says on: May 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm

           

          True. And it’s snappy, international – and ugly. (“Plug” isn’t much better…)

      • Ana V says on: May 9, 2013 at 6:32 am

         

        Blog in French is le blog, strangely enough. French computer terms are often vastly different from the English (international?) ones.

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