“unusual words” applauded

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Harry Heidelberg, Margo Kingston’s Webdiary stand-in, is revelling in his new role:

I am intrigued though by the fascination with language in some quarters (spelling, grammar and the like). I think that people need to write in a way that they can be understood but beyond that, they should not feel excluded just because they may not be polished essay writers. Other blogs and internet based commentary are filled with one-liners. Chimps can do one-liners. I’d rather a real person explain their perspective, complete with unusual words, rather than a glib one-liner. That’s what Webdiary is about though. Always has been.

“Always has-been”. Not a bad one-line description of Margo, that. Actually, chimps are notoriously incapable of one-liners; much like Webdiary correspondents, they prefer to chatter and shriek and make up their own words.

I’m unfair. Margo has composed some excellent one-liners over the years. Here are a few favourites from 2002.

UPDATE. Activist chimps are no thappy!

Posted by Tim B. on 03/19/2005 at 01:45 AM
    1. Finally, Webdiary hits back. This what you’ve been waiting for isn’t it? Another diversion. Good work.

      Posted by nwab on 03/19 at 02:19 AM • permalink


    1. “Complete with unusual words”? What, does he mean thesaurus-hunting for effect (a trick that any sane English teacher will warn you against) or using words from foreign languages which aren’t very familiar? Making up words? Making like Humpty Dumpty and deciding that a certain word means whatever you want it to, regardless of what those nasty old hardliners at the OED want you to think? Or just garden-variet misspellings?

      Just curious. It’s such a random thing to bring up in this context.

      Look, I wrote more than one line! I’m a Real Girl!

      Posted by Sonetka on 03/19 at 02:21 AM • permalink


    1. No, no, no.  Comedians do one liners.  Chimps fling feces.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/19 at 02:43 AM • permalink


    1. The Agent Y, if she could not bear other than polished essay writers, she would be long since of the slit wrists.

      Crikey, though … if you’re going to postulate populism and proscribe pedantry in your pretensions of punditry, at least try to make some fargin’ sense.

      Agent Y of the Spelling & Grammar Police
      Knight Defender of the Apostrophe

      Posted by Achillea on 03/19 at 03:10 AM • permalink


    1. What did you expect him to say? Anything else would have earned the wrath of the Margo, as it would have been a direct insult to her abilities (or lack of), not to mention those of the 300 readers that actually get posted.

      Honestly, “newking”?

      Posted by david on 03/19 at 03:22 AM • permalink


    1. One oughtn’t twiddle with the dumbwaiter.

      (just offering up some unusual words)

      Posted by TimShell on 03/19 at 03:27 AM • permalink


    1. chimps rule, heidelberg drools.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 03/19 at 03:30 AM • permalink


    1. OT: While browsing the 2002 archives, I came across this. As a meat eating smoker and drinker, I found it very amusing.

      Posted by Adam B on 03/19 at 04:02 AM • permalink


    1. Sorry, I thought there was a permalink in the date/time. You have to scroll to the very end of the page.

      Posted by Adam B on 03/19 at 04:06 AM • permalink


    1. Eh, guv, tel yer wot, them Iracky’s ain’t arf a bunch a loonies. Wot we doin there?
      Them’s got they shi-its togevver, ain they?
      Reckun we shud push orf an leve em to it.

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/19 at 05:12 AM • permalink


    1. Planet of the Apes was a political advertisement?

      Henry Heidleberg is really a mutated form of Clem Kadiddlehopper, minus the laughs.

      Posted by rog2 on 03/19 at 05:26 AM • permalink


    1. They are paid writers.

      But in typical socialist style, they will never admit they are paid to be good writers.

      And, indeed, they are crap writers – their writing is leaden, unreadable, stodgy, ungrammatical, unenlightening, cliched, tribal shit.

      The style infects all their publications, but especially their news opinion columnists and their lifestyle writers.

      Fairfax journalism trudges along like Russian soldiers looking for the next vodka and not finding it.

      Socialism lost.

      Fairfax is yet to find out.

      It is a news organisation.

      Go figure.

      Posted by ilibcc on 03/19 at 06:31 AM • permalink


    1. He’s coming out in favor of girls’ rules, is all.

      Posted by rhhardin on 03/19 at 08:29 AM • permalink


    1. Just to contextualise Harry’s comment, it’s fair to say that contextualising the contextualisation of the paradigm shift probably takes it out of the its original context – his comment is contextless, if you will – and (re)contextualising is surely the most impo(r)tant thing now.

      Posted by Hanyu on 03/19 at 08:37 AM • permalink


    1. Other blogs and internet based commentary are filled with one-liners.

      I think some early English blogger said brevity was the soul of wit.

      Posted by bc on 03/19 at 09:55 AM • permalink


    1. “Chimps can do one-liners. “

      Can not.

      bc — I tried that one on my one good English teacher once, when my essay came in short.  He replied, “But it is not solely witty.”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 11:32 AM • permalink


    1. Chimps can do one-liners.

      The left, on the other hand, favors howler monkeys.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 11:33 AM • permalink


    1. Chimps can do one-liners.

      He said, in his soundbite for ABC…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 11:35 AM • permalink


    1. I hate to quote a hippy with approval, but as Joss Whedon once wrote: “Reading makes our speaking English good.”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 11:36 AM • permalink


    1. Kevin Kline: Apes cannot read Nietszche!

      Jamie Lee Curtis: Yes, they can, Otto, they just don’t understand it…

      A Fish Called Wanda

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 11:46 AM • permalink


    1. Another overlooked Margo quote:

      It looks like the Border Protection Bill COULD have retrospectively allowed our troops to detain people and force them out of our waters.”

      Ah, yes, those retrospective border guards… “You know, ensign, perhaps we could have tossed those refugees to the sharks, now that I look back on it…”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 01:02 PM • permalink


    1. More words composed by chimps

      the arbitrary adding of the suffix “ism” to words (reflecting not so much an effort to identify a trend, belief set or movement as a tendency to mumble)

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 02:09 PM • permalink


    1. Chimps can do one-liners?

      Is he making excuses for certain people?

      Posted by RebeccaH on 03/19 at 02:14 PM • permalink


    1. “To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself… Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”

      I’ll tell you who said it as soon as I’m done whitewashing this fence.

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 03/19 at 03:05 PM • permalink


    1. Whitewashing a fence?


      Teilhard de Chardin! No….

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/19 at 03:09 PM • permalink


    1. “Chimps can do one-liners”

      that’s irrelevant…

      Posted by guinsPen on 03/19 at 05:17 PM • permalink


    1. If they could string together a bunch of ideas into a coherent argument, I bet Tim would cut them acres of slack in the spelling and usage department.

      Um, second line.

      Posted by bovious on 03/19 at 05:32 PM • permalink


    1. cujos to Dave S…

      “I’ve just been for a look at that Tim Blair site. There’s a lot of comment on Webdiary and how incomprehensible it is for the Blair bloggers. Well no wonder – none of them seem able to write more than a line or two at a time and it’s all diabtribe, such as this:

      In the run-up to the war, the lefties were predicting Iraq would be levelled, hundreds of thousands would die, and millions more would become starving refugees.
      Now Iraq is a disaster because it isn’t Switzerland yet.
      Sod off, swampy.
      Posted by Dave S. on 03/17 at 11:20 AM

      That’s quite typical. It was a bit like finding yourself in the middle of a teenage pyjama party. I must confess, however, to finding it rather entertaining in a perverse sort or way. Forget the latte or the charonnay – strong drugs would be more useful at Blair.

      Oh well, I guess everybody finds their niche eventually.

      Posted by: Phil Uebergang at March 19, 2005 07:34 AM”

      Posted by guinsPen on 03/19 at 07:09 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks loads, Hanyu (#14).  Now I have a headache.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 03/19 at 09:14 PM • permalink


  1. The “no thappy” link no worky.

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/20 at 02:15 AM • permalink