Big words in newspaper shock

Today I did something I’ve never done before. I found a word in a newspaper I had to look up in the dictionary. (From this, you can obviously tell blogging has hit a low patch.)

David Marquand uses “tergiversations” in a splendid demolition of Anthony Seldon’s shameless grovelling to Blair. Turns out it means “use ambiguous or evasive language” or “change one’s loyalties” – Marquand handily includes the link in his piece. I like to think that he didn’t just randomly pluck it from the thesaurus, but was saving the word for something special, and slipped it in close to Christmas when nobody really reads the papers anyway.

To yet more verbosity, in a piece about blogs from the Wall Street Journal opinion page. While the place is usually a haven for barkingly extreme right-wingers, this article is remarkably even-handed. I did like his assertion that instant response, as a condition of blogging, “is also a coagulant for orthodoxies”. What a splendid put-down. I almost feel like using it here. Which would you prefer: “Moore Than This: A coagulent for orthodoxies” or a line from an Elvis Costello song?


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