Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maybe I didn't learn anything from the Wire?

So, apparently, the good folks at Merriam-Webster and the creator of the Wire got into a little online spat over the usage of "evacuate" in Sunday's episode. Full story is here.

From New York Magazine:
"Merriam-Webster's Peter Sokolowski, using the handle "MERRIAM_WEBSTER" (heh), commented on our post, pointing us to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage's article on this very subject. Summarizes Sokolowski: "This was indeed a usage controversy until about WWII, by which time the 'remove (people)' sense had taken firm hold. According the MWDEU: 'The respectability of this sense is no longer subject to question.'"

Wire creator David Simon responded with his reasoning:
"At the Baltimore
Sun in my day, I was chastised by the great Jay Spry, rewrite man to the world, for evacuating people in my report of a downtown gas leak. I plead guilty to an anachronism if indeed that is what it now is. However, I would argue that since the evacuation of people can in fact mean giving them enemas, the use of such a phrase should be discouraged by editors, given that the alternate phrase in which a given locale is evacuated is better and unequivocal. When a word has two meanings, find another word."

Go figure. I still won't use evacuate alone though. I'm scarred for life.

Labels: , , ,


Posted by T Dot at 12:22 PM | link

Read or Post a Comment

David's response made me laugh out loud.

Posted by Blogger Aaron Morrison @ 6:40 PM, January 09, 2008 #

sounds like someone's got the Wire bug...

Posted by Blogger Darren Sands @ 1:57 AM, January 10, 2008 #

I'm older than you young'uns, but my usage of "evacuate" is shaped by an episode of "M*A*S*H." The 4077th is getting bombed, and somebody says "We should evacuate," and Hawkeye says, "I think I already did."

Which means, yes, one can "evacuate" without aid of an enema. ;^D

Posted by Blogger Undercover Black Man @ 8:46 AM, January 10, 2008 #

lol @ david's response.

hope things are well with you.

Posted by Blogger Vandy @ 6:47 PM, January 10, 2008 #
<< Home

We'd Like to Know...

Our Favorites

Poynter Institute
Media News
Ask the Recruiter
About the Job
On The Media
Columbia Journalism Review
Howard Kurtz's Media Notes
Eric Deggans
E-Media Tidbits