The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell


I am the WEBMASTER, and it is I who 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 it 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

Monday, 6th July 2015

May, v.

Pronunciation: /meɪ/
Etymology: < a Germanic verb with the sense ‘to be strong or able, to have power’.

1. Expressing possibility.
2. In phrase we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you, contronymous to sense 1, expressing certainty.

Wednesday, 17th June 2015

I may be unashamed of talking to myself – indulging in what the academics call private speech, ‘self‐talk emitted out loud by adults when alone’ – but I refuse outright to talk down the phone to the incorrigibly mishearkening robots that are increasingly charged with manning the automated menus at call centres.

‘Tell me the third character of your password.’
S for Sierra. Is that right?’
‘No? Then tell me again, what is the third character of your password?’
S for Sierra. Is that right?’
‘No, F! F for eff you, eff me, what the eff?, and for eff’s sake, eff off and eff yourself you eff-witted effhole!

Oh, fuck it.

Thursday, 4th June 2015

Unobsolete: an occasional column devoted to tracking social change with reference to ‘Obs.’ entries in the OED that are unobsolescing:

Academize, v.

Pronunciation: /əˈkadəmʌɪz/
Etymology:  < academy n. + -ize suffix.

To form an academy. Obs. rare.

Derivatives: academization n.

Wednesday, 3rd June 2015

I think the proposed EU referendum ought to compel newspaper sub-editors and style-guidees to dust off that long-neglected en rule (–), which is ‘used like a solidus to express an alternative’ (New Hart’s Rules): we’re to have an in–out, not an in-out referendum. The en rule denotes the fact that Britain will either be in the EU or she will be out of it – one or the other, not both – whereas in-out hyphenated suggests that the reality will be more along the lines of shake it all about.

… On second thoughts, let the hyphen stand.

Tuesday, 2nd June 2015

I propose a spin-off from the OUD: the Oxford (Urban) Dictionary of (Really) Modern Quotations.

On the subject of collections of related items, especially DVDs of television programmes, packaged and sold together in a box…

Marcel Proust, French novelist, essayist, and critic:

I have a horror of boxsets, they’re so romantic, so operatic.

Geoffrey Madan, English bibliophile:

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine boxset.


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