The Friends of California Libre...

24 December 2008

Your Saviour Is an Axial Tilt

Greetings, friends,
Alas, no holiday card again this year.  Not that it hasn't been a year of changes...huge changes.  I was suddenly laid off in February by my employer of 11 years, the City of Los Angeles, but after some months of flailing I found a new place with the City of Inglewood.  Though a smaller city, I have more responsibility (I am in charge of serials and government documents) and I'm out of the 'burbs and back in a working-class neighborhood, where I belong.  For those of you who've never been to LA or only a few times, Inglewood is on the south slope of the Baldwin Hills, just NE of the airport and about 10 minutes SE from Venice Beach.  The window of my new office faces those hills, lovely really, and on a clear day I can see the Santa Monica Mountains trailing off to Malibu in the distance.  There have also been upheavals in my personal life...or rather, upheavals in the lives of others that I've adjusted to.  Let's call it The Simple Life, like Paris and Nicole, shall we?  And let's not talk about now, friends, because it relates to one of my New Year's resolutions.

I have three small gifts for all of you...first, some Stooges on the bottom of my home page, and then some kittens, and how about a feel good song at the top of my YouTube page.  Yeah, I know..."Stand by Me" isn't my typical theme, but I like the international aspect...and it's more upbeat than some songs I like.

On Christmas I'm flying to Raleigh, North Carolina, for an adventure I've been planning over ten years.  It's been almost eleven since I've seen my friends in Charleston, so a return visit there is long overdue; besides that I've mapped a very long, winding drive down the country roads of the Carolinas, following the migration of my family, who landed at Jamestown in 1635.  From there they moved west and south through the Piedmont, where I'll follow through no less than five Revolutionary War battlefields, then along the Blue Ridge to the Cherokee lands and past ancient burial mounds into Hancock County, Georgia, just south of Athens, where my great-great grandfather James Champion was born in 1823.  Talk about history...I'm going to visit the Phillips Mill Baptist Church, attended by my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (!) Hart Champion, still going after 233 years!  After tracing that long family arc, I'll follow the trail of Bloody Sherman into Columbia, the capital of South Carolina that his troops burnt to the ground in 1865, two years after James died at Vicksburg.  Finally, like Rhett Butler, I'm going back to Charleston to bring in this New Year:
"Rhett!  Rhett, where are you going?"
"I'm going back to Charleston, back where I belong."
"Please, please take me with you!"
"No, I'm through with everything here.  I want peace.  I want to see if somewhere there isn't something left in life of charm and grace.  Do you know what I'm talking about?"

But there is no place for me but LA.  I tried to get out, really I did, because other than the weather it's an awful city, cruel and unfriendly.  But the Bay Area wouldn't have me, and driving 75 mph in a downpour the other night, I realized there were not a lot of other places a person like me can live.

After the recent rain, the wind was coming from the east, so I sped over to Dockweiler Beach after work for a rare sight, as the landing pattern at LAX was reversed.  Instead of taking off over the ocean, the planes were lined up far out to see, a string of lights slowly bobbing, until one of them would detach and silently close in, suddenly dropping low and screaming over the beach.  Down on the beach I observed a wrecked sailboat, not fresh but recent enough, not completely stripped or grafittied, the sand just starting to work its way inside, tilted on one side, the mast pointed at the landing jets.  It was almost kind of obscene, all that screaming power and then one washed-up boat as a monument to our impotence.  Oh well.

Ah, but the winter solstice at last.  Now another year is brought to an end, 2008, and tomorrow the sun will stay up just a few moments longer.  The Christians and the corporations can have their holiday, even though Jesus was born in September and Santa Claus is a slave-master, but Sunday was my day, I went to my secret place and thanked the Goddess for being so good to me when no one else can.

Here's another weird gift to you:  some recordings of some very strange television from exactly 20 years ago.  There's a lot of Pee Wee, Smurfs, and I finally got to see the "He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special".  BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!  I HAVE THE POWER!  Click the TV Guide in the corner to really feel the horror:

This is what I mean:

If you want to go back even further, remember when Luke raped Laura at the disco?  With Chuck Mangione in the background, no less...

I was stunned to see Anthony Geary by accident on "General Hospital" a few weeks ago.  Yeah, that Jewfro was almost 30 years ago:

Since we're getting into visual fun, I've seen a few more films that I'm inspired to share with you.  The first was Dark Journey (1937) with Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veigt.  A hot French spy and a suave German spy fall in love in neutral Stockholm during World War I.  An obvious play at "why can't we all get along" just before the Nazis seized Austria, this poignant movie is surprisingly grown-up and full of excellent acting.  Compared to Michael Powell's freakish "not ready for death" trial Stairway to Heaven that tried to deal with the aftermath of the war, it was like night and day, though the 21 year old Kim Hunter was completely smoking in this latter film.  It's also nice to see Ms. Leigh red-hot before she left her husband, fell in love with Laurence Olivier and went batshit crazy, although she was fab with Ms. Hunter in a little film about New Orleans.

Next I sat very quietly and watched The Juniper Tree (1990), the very first film starring Björk Guðmundsdóttir, who most know merely as Björk (pronounced Bee-yerk, by the way.)  Continuing this ingenue theme, she's Sugarcubes cute as well, this just about the year I tried to pick her up in a bar.  Some of you already know this story, one of many where I meet some celeb in LA and the punchline is "who's that?"  In this instance it was unusual because, drunk at the Coronet, I met six Icelanders and started flirting with the two women, something I almost never do, but hey, I was with Siniša and Andre, yeah, THAT drunk and actually interested in Icelandic people (a good friend at the time was from Iceland.)  I asked their I've noted in some other screed, Icelanders don't have surnames, but their "last name" is the name of their father (or sometimes their mother) with "son" or "dóttir" appended.  One of the women was very exotic looking and thought I was funny.  Later on, as Sin and Dre can attest, they congratulated me for hanging with the "band".  "Who do you mean?" I asked.  The Sugarcubes, they said, and here comes the punchline..."who's that?"  Hey, I'm still not sure who The Sugarcubes were, though I vaguely remember this song.

Anyway, around this time she made this movie based on a Grimm Brothers tale, where she played the younger daughter of a woman burned as a witch, who follows her older sister as they hike across Iceland to find a new place to live.  I was concerned that, like most Nordic movies, I would spend most of the movie staring at a barren landscape under a gray sky and yep, I did.  But it wasn't too painful...I'd even say it "got medieval" on me.  It was very short, not too hippy-dippy or oppressive and everyone in it could act; plus, apparently Icelanders are a little more spunky than Norwegians or, Goddess protect me, Swedes, who sometimes act like they can't move, because a cold stick of death is sliding up their ass.

Next movie fell off a shelf at the library and into my lap, Laurel Canyon (2002).  As a native of that canyon (who also read a book by the same name, no relation, writ by the producer hubby of Judith Krantz), I sort of had to watch this.  From the cover I suspected I was in for some pointless indie shit that might remind me too much of real life...a real deep and meaningful life, right?  Have I mentioned that I hate most indie movies and frequently react to them with the statement "so fucking what?"  Make something interesting and weird, for chrissakes.  Blow something up if you have to.  I hate ordinary people who spend two hours trying to get laid in real life, and in movies it's even worse.  Well, at first I thought I'd dodged a bullet with this movie...Christian Bale plays a very tightly wound psychotherapy student who interns at a mental ward in LA and brings his slightly-less tightly wound Yankee girlfriend, Kate Beckinsale, who's finishing her biology dissertation.  They stay with his hippy mom, a record producer played by Frances McDormand, who smokes a shitload of pot but must be successful because she has a huge house with a recording studio way up Kirkwood.  Now come the first I had high hopes, because it seemed this might be a rip-off of The Nowhere City, Alison Lurie's great 1965 novel about a couple from New England who end up witnessing the demise of Venice Beach and the birth of Westwood while getting royally fucked not by other people but by LA itself.  But nope, pretty soon the lead singer of the band recording at Frances' house starts flirting with Kate, and a hot doctor played by David Duchovny's ex-girlfriend in "Californication" falls in love with Christian Bale.  Great, I thought, another "temptation" movie.  Yeah, LA sucks, all people want to do here is GET LAID.  Right.  Plus I realized I was going to have to see Kate Beckinsale's tits at least four or five times.  I did get two surprises...Christian did the "honorable" thing and turned down a hot Irish "gorl"...and rather than fuck the rock star, Kate started making out with FRANCES, her boyfriend's mom!  Whoa!  I knew Laurel Canyon was fucked up, but that's something of a stretch.  I guess those repressed New Englanders have a lot of secret urges that only LA and a shitload of pot can bring out.  Well, at least the movie had a happy ending, right there in front of the Chateau Marmont, but I can still say that "the movie" about Laurel Canyon (unless you count Wonderland) has yet to be made.  Woo hoo.

Finally we come, my friends, to one of the weirdest films I have ever seen.  I want to outline briefly my qualifications for making this bold statement.  Since my parents got cable back in the late 1970s, I've seen all the classics of late 1960s Hollywood, all the fucked-up doper pictures, plenty of noir, tons of Nouvelle Vague, real music videos, and way too much Fassbinder.  Robert made me watch The Ninth Configuration and I sat through The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the Eight Dimension on acid with Louie and Crissy.  I edited four films for Raymond Pettibon and may be the only person ALIVE who has sat through all four.  Peter Beckman and David Del Valle have both subjected me to the most complete education in the unbelievable psychedelic horrific tit-fest of Hammer/Corman/Franco than few others on Earth can boast.  I went to a Stan Brakhage film festival and did not pass out, and though I can't stand Bergman or any Russians, I've survived both Tetsuo the Iron Man and The Holy Mountain.  But with ALL THAT SAID, all that was obliterated as I tuned in White Springs TV and caught the opening credits of Mesa of Lost Women (1953).  It scored 2 on the IMDB, the lowest of any movie I've ever seen, but I give it a 10 for effort.

At first I thought I was in for an ordinary B-movie, but my jaw kept dropping and hit the floor within the first ten minutes, and never quite closed.  It is the perfect bad movie, far beyond even the masterpieces of Ed Wood in the perfection of its insanity.  I want all film students to be forced to watch this movie.  The acting is terrible but somehow fits each character to a T; the editing and cinematography are dismal but catch the mood better than most avant-garde works.  There is an attempt at a plot, but it dances through so many genres it seemed more like an eternity of bad film history crammed into 90 minutes.  Even the flashbacks are awesome because they're nested within the memories of the wrong characters.  Friends, THIS is the tale Macbeth was talking about, "told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."  Maybe I'm wrong but I was delightfully entranced.  In brief:  a couple staggers out of the "Desierto del Muerto" and spins a yarn to some disinterested Mexicans, while a whiny narrator repeats THE SAME THING over their story.  A scientist goes to visit Dr. Aranya (played by Jackie Coogan, aka Uncle Fester) who, in a nightmare that only the Three Stooges could have conceived with Dali on an LSD trip, is breeding giant tarantulas, evil clownish dwarves, and superhuman "spider women" on that above-named mesa.  The scientist goes crazy for no reason, and ends up in a nearby cantina, spouting free verse poetry, armed and snappily dressed.  He shoots a dancer and kidnaps a millionaire, his golddigger newlywed and his creepy Chinese butler, then forces them to take a plane flight.  The plane amazingly develops engine trouble and crashes back on the same mesa.  THAT'S IT.  Have a taste.  You can read a better synopsis here:

The music that drones through the entire movie, a creepy mix of pounded piano and ceaseless Latin guitar strumming, finally connected this film in my mind to the pinnacle of weirdness, a pornographic old dark house movie known as Thundercrack (1975).  It is the only thing I've ever seen on celluloid that can compare.  Even Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966), a magnificent piece of shit starring my former neighbor John Agar, aka Mr. Shirley Temple, cannot hold a candle to it.  They do have one thing in common, though; like Thundercrack, I can't help thinking they would all make fine porn films. that a CHRISTMAS screed I feel coming on?

I don't want to brag or anything, but speaking of the MESSIAH, I noticed an interesting fact in this graph of our recent Presidential election (by county; click on "margin of victory in 3-D"):

Oh, what's that little tower on the left?  Why, that's President Obama's margin of victory in LA County, over a million votes!  That's second only to his home of Cook County, Illinois.  Not bad.

I also noticed, searching around this map, that John McCain won Staten Island by over 7500 votes.  Most of the other boroughs went for Obama with margins of nearly half a million.  Will somebody from New York explain this to me?  Is it all those fucking Greeks, or some problem with immigrants from Jersey?

Whatever.  I'm also pleased to tell you that my friend Andrea Reimer was elected to the Vancouver City Council in their municipal election on 15 November ( election on a Saturday when people can actually novel.)  She's a member of Vision Vancouver, a coalition of former Greens and the socialist New Democratic Party, who took control of the city by electing their mayoral candidate, Gregor Robertson, and seven of the ten councillors, including Andrea.  When I met her in February 2005, Andrea was one of the only Greens elected to a partisan office (on the Vancouver School Board) in all of North America.  Now she's part of a team governing the most progressive city on the West Coast, and congratulations to her.

I don't want you to think you can compare this to an American election - the "conservative" party in this election was the NPA (Non Partisan Association), which ran the city on-and-off since World War II, and would be considered more liberal than any politician now in office in Los Angeles.  If you think I am exaggerating, check out some amazing candidates for mayor who ran in Vancouver.  Of course, this is the city that brought us the Urban Peasant.

As to our election, you know, I reflect that in 8 years, nobody even really tried to waste President Bush.  There was that idiot in Georgia, who almost got him with a dud hand grenade, but then here's this guy who nearly nailed him with a shoe (a deep insult to an Arab):

Woo hoo, you're a hero.  Hope you like our Middle Eastern torture cells.  Seriously, that fucker can DUCK.  I'll bet even Lee Harvey Oswald would have missed his shifty pinhead.  Well, see ya to all this white trash:
Goodbye and Good Riddance
After eight years of President Bush, we almost don't know how to function without him - almost. But before we move on, we should pause to remember just what we're leaving behind.
Just over two years into George W. Bush's presidency, The American Prospect featured Bush on its cover under the headline, "The Most Dangerous President Ever." At the time, some probably thought it a bit over the top. But nearly six years later, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the multifaceted burden that will soon be lifted from our collective shoulders.
Click here to read more on our site
Europeans Congratulate Americans on Obama Victory
Begich Topples Stevens in Alaska Senate Race
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens lost his job to Mark Begich on Tuesday, putting an end to the era of "Uncle Ted" as the dominant force in Alaska politics.  Begich, the Democratic mayor of Anchorage, widened his lead to 3,724 votes in Tuesday's count of absentee and questioned ballots. The lead is insurmountable, as the only votes left to count are approximately 2,500 ballots from overseas.  Begich claimed victory, saying, "I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the U.S. Senate."
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The worm has turned for us, you might say (and some have said to me.)  But overcharging 300 million credit cards and blasting a crater into a pair of countries has kind of brought the Grand Ol' Flag to her knees...
Sarkozy Backs Russian Calls for Pan-European Security Pact
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France joined Russia in condemning the Pentagon's plans to install missile defence bases in central Europe yesterday and backed President Dmitri Medvedev's previously ignored calls for a new pan-European security pact.  Both presidents concluded a Russia-EU summit, in Nice in the south of France, with an agreement to convene a major international conference next summer at which the Americans, Russians and the 27 countries of the EU should come up with a blueprint for new post-cold war "security architecture" in Europe.  The call for such a pact has been Medvedev's central foreign policy message since he succeeded Vladimir Putin as president earlier this year.
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We still have the same fucking Christians running our lives...
Gay Marriage Ban Goes to California Supreme Court
The California high court will review legal challenges to Prop. 8. A hearing is set for March. Prior to a ruling, gay weddings will not be allowed to resume.
San Francisco - The California Supreme Court agreed today to review legal challenges to Prop. 8, the voter initiative that restored a ban on same-sex marriage, but refused to permit gay weddings to resume pending a ruling.
Click here to read more on our site
Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged
Los Angeles - The future of same-sex marriage in the Golden State will rest, once again, in the hands of its highest court. But this time, its fate will hinge on a different question: Can a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage go before voters? Or must it go before the legislature first?  The answer, legal experts say, will determine whether gay rights advocates can overturn Proposition 8, a recently passed ballot measure that overruled a state Supreme Court judgment that legalized same-sex marriage.
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And most of Mr. Obama's cabinet starting ruining the country 16 years ago...
This Is Change? Twenty Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House
A who's who guide to the people poised to shape Obama's foreign policy.
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises.
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Barack Obama's Kettle of Hawks
Barack Obama's national security team has been called a cast of rivals. (Photo: Reuters)
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Foreign donors to Clinton charity could prompt Hillary debate
Julian Borger
The Guardian
The revelation that the Saudi Arabian government and Indian businessmen and politicians have donated millions of dollars to Bill Clinton's charitable foundation is likely to provoke allegations that his international fundraising could conflict with America's interests if his wife is confirmed as the next US secretary of state.

Sources: Clinton to Accept Secretary of State
Washington - Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat and accept the position of secretary of state, making her the public face around the world for the administration of the man who beat her for the Democratic presidential nomination, two confidants said Friday.  The apparent accord between perhaps the two leading figures in the Democratic Party climaxed a week-long drama that riveted the nation's capital.
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Clinton to Accept Offer of Secretary of State Job
Washington - Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.  Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats believe the vetting will be straightforward.  Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice.
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Obama Team Signals No War Crimes Prosecution
Washington - Barack Obama's incoming administration is unlikely to bring criminal charges against government officials who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists during the George W. Bush presidency. Obama, who has criticized the use of torture, is being urged by some constitutional scholars and human rights groups to investigate possible war crimes by the Bush administration.
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Democrats Let Lieberman Keep Senate Chairmanship
Washington - Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent from Connecticut, was allowed to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday despite his support for Senator John McCain in the presidential campaign.  Democratic senators voted instead to strip Mr. Lieberman of a subcommittee chairmanship on the Environment and Public Works Committee, a slap on the wrist compared with the prospect of losing the homeland security leadership post.
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Anyway, for the remainder of this SCREED I'd like to tell you what I do for a living, now that I'm making a living at it again.  You see, I'm a librarian in a country that has no respect for erudition, education, good conversation, privacy, intelligence, etc.  (The redneck at the bar slowly turns...)  "What you mean, faggot?"
BBC NEWS | Technology | Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'
CIA, FBI computers used for Wikipedia edits
FBI Withdraws Digital Library's National Security Letter
By Paul Elias
The Associated Press
FBI Prepares Vast Database of Biometrics
By Ellen Nakashima
The Washington Post
Court Reverses Bush on Archive Secrecy
By JoAnne Allen
Bush Goes Private to Spy on You
By Tim Shorrock
Librarians Describe Life Under an FBI Gag Order
By Luke O'Brien

Maybe we shouldn't even exist:
Pull the plug on the library [The Gainesville Sun]
How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America
Sad but true: Intelligence is a political liability in the US. Author of The Age of American Unreason Susan Jacoby explains why.
Click here to read more on our site
Public Libraries for Profit

By Akito Yoshikane
In These Times

I mean, Americans are SO smart already...
Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans Than Illegal Drugs
A report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has concluded that prescription drugs have outstripped illegal drugs as a cause of death.  An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together.
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Joel stopped by The Landover Baptist Website and suggested that (even though they don't allow unsaved people to view their site or come within a 10-mile radius of their 150-thousand acre, 27.5 billion dollar, Christian campus in Freehold, Iowa) you simply must see this URL:
The Landover Baptist Website

Year 1999 A.D.

Video clip shows a mid-1960s imagining of what technology would be like in the year 1999.

Starving Dog Art

Petition targets a Costa Rican artist who allegedly starved a dog to death as part of a gallery exhibit.
Christian biker gang members charged with attempted murder
Police say the charges stem from a fight last week at a Newport Beach bar, and the victims are members of the Hells Angels.
By Francisco Vara-Orta
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Officers arrested eight members of an Anaheim biker gang and charged them with attempted murder this morning as part of an ongoing operation, authorities said.,0,7227161.story

Refried Beans

Are "refried" beans really fried more than once?

But librarians are not averse to a scrap:
ACLU Will Challenge FISA Bill in Court
As the Senate voted to endorse a Bush-administration backed plan to expand its surveillance authority and grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that facilitated warrantless wiretapping, the American Civil Liberties Union unveiled plans to challenge the new law in court.
The Secret Library of Hope: 12 Books to Stiffen Your Resolve
By Rebecca Solnit
Dead? You still have to pay library fine

We are a new kind of librarian:
What They Didn't Teach Us in Library School
By Chip Ward
Shelters for Dickens, Shakespeare and the homeless
While we look away, public libraries become warehouses for those living on the streets.
By Chip Ward
Chip Ward was, until recently, assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library.
OPHELIA SITS BY THE FIREPLACE and mumbles softly, smiling and gesturing at no one in particular. She gazes out the window through the two pairs of glasses she wears at once. When her muttering disturbs the woman seated beside her, Ophelia turns, chuckles and explains, "Don't mind me, I'm dead." Not at all reassured, the woman gathers her belongings and moves quickly away. Ophelia shrugs. Verbal communication is tricky. She prefers telepathy, she says.,0,3185213.story?coll=la-sunday-commentary
By the Book, With Footnotes
The Central Library's security staff enforces rules but strives to treat with equal respect the homeless and well-off. It's a delicate balance.
By Jill Leovy
Times Staff Writer
The body-odor calls are the ones Security Officer William Morris dreads most. That's when he has to tell someone to leave the Los Angeles Central Library because they smell.,1,393266.story
FASHION & STYLE   | July 8, 2007
A Hipper Crowd of Shushers
A new type of librarian is emerging: think Dewey Decimal meets Generation X.

Indeed, the worm has turned:
Democrats to White House: Preserve Your Records
Washington - Senate Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last week told the White House to preserve all records produced by the Bush administration and expressed "particular concerns" whether Vice President Dick Cheney's office will comply with the law.  "We believe it is vital the presidential and vice presidential documents belonging to the American people be preserved, including those related to key national security decisions in which the (office of the vice president) played an important role,"
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Finally, a few months ago I read that McDonald's had asked the Oxford English Dictionary to change the definition of the word "McJob", and threatened to sue if they did not.  Here is the Oxford entry:

McJob, n.

colloq. and depreciative (orig. U.S.).
    An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.
1986 Washington Post (Nexis) 24 Aug.
C1 (heading) The fast-food factories: McJobs are bad for kids. 1991 D. COUPLAND Generation X I. i. 5 Dag..was bored and cranky after eight hours of working his McJob ('Low pay, low prestige, low benefits, low future'). 1993 Albuquerque (New Mexico) Jrnl. 4 Apr. C3/2 So many bright and ambitious young people are wasting what should be their apprentice years in low-wage, low-skilled jobs, what are called 'McJobs'. 1995 Face Jan. 91/2 Up to the beginning of this year he was painting houses for a living. Name a McJob and Beck has probably done it.

On a lark I sent an e-mail to the Oxford University Press and asked how they handled such requests to alter a dictionary definition.  To my surprise they not only answered me personally, but in such a way that I am forever endeared to that greatest of English dictionaries, the OED:

Subject: RE: general (OED Support Form)
To: "Joel J. Rane" <>

Thank you for contacting us.

While on this matter we in Customer Support are not sufficiently informed to be able speak officially on behalf of OUP, our present sense is that no one need fear Oxford's capitulating to the McDonald's Corporation's PR demands.  Definitions in the OED are not invented at the whim of a CEO or even a lexicographer.  They are drawn from empirical, textual evidence of the way in which each word is used by the articulate English-speaking populace.  In brief, the OED is descriptive, not prescriptive.  It does not present how a word ought be used but rather the way in which it indeed is used by those who use it.  To our knowledge, no one uses the term that has offended McDonald's in the sense in which that corporation would prefer it to be used.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Customer Support - Online Products
Oxford University Press

See you in 2009 and vive le screed!!!!


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