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Preview: Fritinancy


Names, brands, writing, and the language of commerce.

Updated: 2017-11-19T06:30:00-08:00


Word of the week: Reckoning


All this autumn, the stories have been tumbling out: about sexual harassment, sexual “misconduct” and, in some cases, actual rape, perpetrated by men in positions of power. Men in Hollywood (Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey), men in the media (Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Michael Oreskes), men in tech (Uber,...

Name in the news: Keurig


Over the weekend, a strange Twitter trend began surfacing: People – well, white men – were posting videos of themselves destroying coffeemakers. And not just any coffeemakers: Keurig single-cup coffeemakers. There’s a whole lot of backstory to this weird cultural moment; if you’re not already familiar with the connection between...

Word of the week: Kowtow


“Donald Trump is reinventing the kowtow for the Twitter age,” wrote David Rothkopf in a Los Angeles Times op-ed published November 3, just before Trump left for a 12-day, five-country Asia trip. Rothkopf cited Trump’s “fawning tweets” celebrating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “extraordinary elevation” at the 19th Chinese Community Party...

Vision statement


You start a company to sell protective eyewear for computer users. What to name the business? Something to do with the quality of sight? Or screens? Or protection? Nope. Now, I won’t deny that Phonetic Computer Eyewear is a distinctive name in its field, but only because it’s so utterly...

On the Visual Thesaurus: Thats ridiculous (in a good way)


My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “Laughing Matters,” looks at the spread of ludicrous, ridiculous, and absurd (and their adverbial counterparts) as positive intensifiers. Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers; here’s an excerpt. On the language-of-humor scale, where funny, droll, and amusing are positive or neutral,...