The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

Blogged prose fiction by Joshua Gaskell

The WEBMASTER to the READER

I am the WEBMASTER, and it is I that will be presenting to you, READER, the private journal of Donald Pincher, aspiring author. How I came to be possessed of it is no concern of yours. And in any case, if I did go about to tell you by what accident I obtained covert access to the file, it would in this unbelieving age pass for little more than the cant or jargon of the blogosphere. Suffice to say that he types Journal.doc on his computer (Windows ME) and, in his careless cyber-luddism, has left open a pathway vulnerable to exploitation by those of us who know the ways of data capture.
Pincher is a pious, small-c-conservative young fogey of the leftmost wing. He lives unfashionably in the London district of Forest Hill SE23, and devotes his life to writing entries in his Oxford Urban Dictionary, trying to find someone willing to publish his novel – five-hundred pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature – and to being fruitlessly apoplectic about the price of things in the capital. A privacy obsessive, much of his novel consists of (in equal measure) decrying the dangers of the internet age, and mocking its pretentions. Which is why I thought it would be funny for him to write his own blog, even if it is one that he doesn’t know he’s writing.
Though the automatic-upload macro I’ve attached to Pincher’s journal makes me something of a deistical Prime Mover, I will occasionally deign to intervene in ‘the cool of the day’ (to footnote, to hyperlink, to tag, or otherwise curate). To this end you will know me by my dark-blue font.
Without further ado, I present to you what I’ve chosen to dub, in the idiom of its unwitting BLOGGER, The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

Friday, 24th October 2014

Locus classicus, n.

Pronunciation: /ləʊkəs klasɪkəs/
Etymology: < Latin, classic place

A standard passage which is viewed as the principal authority on a subject; the paradigm or original of a thing or idea. Cf. Walter Bagehot, Collected Works (Vol. I, p. 202): These lines are, as it were, the locus classicus of loci classici.

Thursday, 23rd October 2014

The tell-tale hum at the sharp end of cold calls demonstrates that, in those call centres from which they’re made, open-plan was a false economy.

Click.

Wednesday, 22nd October 2014

It occurs to me that, whereas in the past to put a simple mark in the place of a signature was a sign of illiteracy, nowadays, with the delivery man and his ‘signature capturing device’ waiting, even an X seems to be regarded as a florid extravagance.

Monday, 20th October 2014

Get, v.

Pronunciation: /ɡɛt/
Etymology: < Old Norse geta

trans. (orig. but no longer chiefly U.S.). To have, as in the phrase ‘can I get a cwaffee?’

Sunday, 19th October 2014

I remember hearing years ago that on any Wikipedia article, if one clicks on the first link and then repeats the process as many times as it takes, one will almost always end up on the entry for Philosophy. The idea is that this phenomenon is consonant with philosophy’s status in the groves of Academe, its broad literal meaning (‘love of knowledge’), and the fact that, no matter the subject, a PhD is a doctorate of philosophy: all roads lead to Rome, but all hyperlinks lead to Athens.

To while away the lonely nights, I’ve devised a similar but more involved game to play on the OED website. Rather than trying to get from the most specific to the most general, I try to get from one word to its opposite. Each new word in the chain is used synonymously in the definition of the previous word. For example,

OED: Getting to the Opposite #1 (Good to Bad)

  1. Good: ‘Having in adequate degree those properties which a thing of the kind ought to have’
  2. Adequate: ‘acceptable in quality or quantity’
  3. Acceptable: ‘Tolerable or allowable’
  4. Tolerable: ‘of middling quality, mediocre, passable’
  5. Mediocre: ‘indifferent, of poor quality, second-rate
  6. Second-rate: ‘A person or thing of inferior class’
  7. Inferior: ‘comparatively bad

The theoretical justification for this game would doubtless have something to do with synthesis and the signifier (all words are contronyms!); but not being one who seeks the truth among the groves of Academus, I just play it for kicks.

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