Dr. Metablog, like all bloggers, is his own editor. With the new freedom comes a downside: lapses of coherence and flaws of grammar, along with the occasional typos and printos that an editor's eye would catch, now go uncaught. But independence is also beneficial. In my former incarnation, I was regularly disciplined by stern editors who called me on the carpet for undermining academic prose by smuggling in a smile.
Once upon a time I composed an encyclopedia entry on the earthy and entertaining seventeenth-century English diarist Samuel Pepys. Pepys was an extremely diligent writer who kept his voluminous diary for nine years, rarely missing a day. To appreciate Pepys's art, it's wrong to rely on snippets; a reader has to swallow whole large hunks of the diary. I recommended, therefore, that nouveau-Pepysists engage in "deep and promiscuous reading" of the volumes. My joke, weak though it may have been, played on the fact that most people read Pepys not for illumination so much as for the frank revelations about his vigorous sexual life. I was not sent page proofs of my contribution to the encyclopedia, and so I was surprised when I cracked open the spruce new book to discover that, for the words "deep and promiscuous," a vigilant but unsmiling editor had substituted "wide." What can I say? The editor batted last and had more clout.
It was perpetually curious to me that the editors would give a pass to incomprehensible jargon but would go to the mat against playfulness.
A few months ago, on this blague, I parodied the curious language of literary criticism in an entry on the imperialist romance King Solomon's Mines. I did not invent the ridiculous vocabulary that I poked fun at, not even "multichronotopic" or "hybridity." Now that I have no glum editor peering over my shoulder, I'm free to play my own game of word-coining. I'm not alone; Is it my imagination, or is English vocabulary going through a internet-fueled growth spurt?
Reviewing my own posts for the past few months, I see a number of words that I can claim to have invented. I'm proud of "precursoress," "soulwise," "brainal," "neojargonianism," "flimflammery," "mosquette," "skinflintism," "bepigeoned," "scandalmongery," "baubleolatry," "alzheimered," "cinderelloid," "prefamiliar," and "barfitudinous." Can I guarantee that I'm the first user of these contributions to linguistic variety? Of course not -- I've no doubt been anticipated in most of them. But I attest that each one of these novelties came to me in a thrilling burst of clarity and light. I'm especially fond of my jekyllian word "menschdom" and its hydish antonym "schmuckhood," of "swiftboatery," "dysgeographicoid," "wallstreetway," and "gigantico." My favorite, and here I'm 99% sure that there can be no other claimant, is "antimonofilamentarianism" , defined as opposition to certain recent manifestations of orthodoxy in religion. I also claim "eruvista," (a person who adheres to these particular beliefs). Only time will tell if one of these novelties turns out to be a nonce word (or as the classicists say, a hapax legomenon), or a word that sneaks into our working vocabulary, its origin as well as its proud originator obscured by the mists of time.