In the News: More WOTY and Goodbye to a Great Writer
Word of the Year
A couple weeks ago, we looked at some early returns for Word of the Year picks. Since then, other “conferences” have reported in. Occupy, an early favorite, was chosen by Geoff Nunberg, the readers of TIME magazine, and the Global Language Monitor. Merriam-Webster picked pragmatic, with editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski noting that occupy, “like the dog that doesn’t bark,” didn’t prompt many lookups. Ben Zimmer and Nancy Friedman have each put together lists of their favorites and suggestions for the upcoming American Dialect Society’s selection. Do you have the WOTY bug? You can submit your picks through email, Twitter, or Facebook for the American Dialect Society’s consideration. The ADS vote will be help on January 6.
Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies
"Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do." ~ Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011
A man who used words to brilliant effective (whether you agreed with the message or not), Christopher Hitchens died last night at age 62 after a battle with cancer. One of the greatest essayists of our time, Hitchens was, in the words of William Grimes for the New York Times, “a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell.” David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic, offers his appreciation, mentioning Hitchens's reverence for Orwell's "commitment to language as the partner of truth." Christopher Buckley, a longtime friend of Hitchens, has an excellent tribute in The New Yorker, and you can hear from more of his friends in “Stephen Fry and Friends on the Life, Loves and Hates of Christopher Hitchens,” a video of the Intelligence² event from just a few weeks ago. But, of course, it would be a great shame if any comments on the life and passing of Hitchens didn’t point the reader to his writings. The Byliner collection of 144 of his essays is an excellent place to start. Newsweek, Slate, and Vanity Fair also have significant archives of pieces by Hitchens.
Image copyright M. Unal Ozmen.