MINING THE NEW YORKER. From Anna Sophia Robb to Tom Wolfe.
For my last post I mined the LA Times. Today I dig into The New Yorker. Here are two nuggets of gold.
First, the article on a new TV series set in the eighties, THE CARRIE DIARIES. Carrie is played by Anna Sophia Robb. Her wardrobe isn’t authentic, she explains. It’s of ASPIRATIONAL AUTHENTICITY. Thank you, thank you! You have given me new hope, Anna. I despair of finding my authentic self, but I’m pretty sure I can achieve ASPIRATIONAL AUTHENTICITY, just as I have achieved aspirational bestseller status. The concept will be a comfort to many. For example,
- Equal opportunity employers who just can't get it right . Now they can be ASPIRATIONAL EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYERS. In future their rejection letters will read: “Dear sir/madam. We aspired to hiring you, but have now decided in favour of someone with a lighter complexion, who blends in better with our company profile.”
- Speaking of profile, I have some words of wisdom for ASPIRATIONAL ENGLISH-SPEAKERS. Keep your language non-specific. That's the trend here in North America. That’s why we talk of cops PROFILING people rather than DISPLAYING PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS or, God forbid, prejudice, which sounds so definitive. You want to leave room for interpretation. Let others decide what your words mean.
- Don’t call an ambulance an ambulance. Too much information. Call it an EMERGENCY VEHICLE, and allow others to figure out what you’re talking about -- a fire engine, an ambulance, or a tow truck? In this day and age we want to keep our options open.
- That’s why a coffee whitener is called a NON-DAIRY PRODUCT. YOU figure out what that means. It’s a food product, okay? That’s all you need to know.
- Same goes for what used to be called advertising. Much too specific. Let’s call it PRODUCT PLACEMENT and leave it to others to determine whether it’s just a prop on stage or something that "if you were watching the show you’d go: I’d wear that," as Robb puts it so charmingly.
Nugget Two: OUTSOURCE YOURSELF, a wildly informative article by Patricia Marx. I’m amazed at all the things you no longer need to do yourself, provided you have the money to pay a lackey. Oh sorry, I meant virtual personal assistant. Patricia Marx commissioned one in Bangalore to write a bit on outsourcing. She got 1300 words for less than 100 Dollars. As she points out, at that rate, WAR AND PEACE would cost about 40,000 Dollars. Now there’s a job for me. Please, Tom Wolfe, hire me! I’ll write your next novel for 30,000 Dollars. Let’s make it a sequel to BACK TO BLOOD and call it BACK TO BLOODY WRITING.