Why you should still call shark attacks shark attacks

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Scientists in Australia and elsewhere want to rebrand what we call it when sharks bite humans. Whether you agree depends on whether you sympathize more with the sharks or the humans. From the Sydney Morning Herald: Authorities in Queensland and NSW [New South Wales] are signalling a shift away from describing encounters between sharks and … Continued

Masha Gessen reveals how meaning and language are crucial

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Masha Gessen has written a must-read essay in the New York Review of Books. Her thesis is that once politicians and pseudo-journalists have robbed words of their meaning, we damage our shared understanding of reality. And that’s happening right now. Gessen should know; she was a journalist in Russia in the Soviet era. As she … Continued

Why can’t I use nice words instead of “bullshit”?

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My dear readers, I thank you all for taking me seriously. But some of you have wondered why it’s necessary for me to use a swearword so much. Am I just trying to get attention? About two weeks into my new career Forrester’s CEO George Colony contacted me. I worked for George for 20 years; … Continued