1) The dictionary definition of 'misogyny'
We Onions love dictionaries. Love them, cherish them, use them daily*, rail against them, defy them and play them off against each other. So it was hugely interesting to watch this week as a dictionary updated itself in the public eye. Prompted, in part, by Prime Minister Gillard's rousing speech in parliament,** the Macquarie dictionary this week announced they were broadening their definition of 'misogyny'.
This, in turn, roused some *ahem* interest in certain quarters of the media.
To which the editor of the Macquarie responded. Sue Butler's explanation of the process by which the Macquarie definition of 'misogyny' came to be expanded is a completely fascinating glimpse into how dictionaries are made.
We know** editors have a reputation for being pedants, sticklers for 'correct' spelling, grammar and punctuation. But really, in some ways, the reverse is true. To be a good editor you have to embrace the knowledge that language - words and how we use them - is living, breathing and constantly evolving. The question we ask of writers and writing is less often 'Is this correct?', and more often 'Does this work?'
The discussion of 'misogyny' is a good reminder that, counter to what The Australian seems to believe, language doesn't exist in a 'pure' vacuum - it is inescapably political, social and cultural. It's affected by power and privilege, by rebellion and revolt, by high culture and pop culture, by science and technology, and humour, and the internetz, and life. It is invented and reinvented, rejected and reclaimed, forgotten and revived and reinvigorated. What a glorious thing! To the dictionaries!
2) The dictionary definition of AWESOME.
Friends, behold! A cake in the shape of Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory.
Peter Smith and Bob Graham launched the book yesterday at Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney with the help of this amazing cake.
And this equally amazing window display.
Ride well, Monsieur Albert. Or if you cannot, have a bottle of wine, a baguette, a little rest, and hope for the best!
* Hourly, really.** Go on. You know you want to watch it again.
*** WE know this because our friends, family and the internet make jokes about this all the time.