October 31, 2017

Dog-lover, dog lover.

"A dog-lover is one who loves dogs; the dogs are the object of his love. James Thurber was a dog-lover. A dog lover, without the hyphen, is still a dog—the Tramp, say, in Lady and the Tramp.... A bird-watcher is a watcher of birds; a bird watcher would be a bird that keeps an eye on things. You can actually hear the difference (and feel the bird’s eye on you). This was brought home to me when a woman from California, one Alice Russell-Shapiro, wrote a letter to the editor—the copy editor—of The New Yorker complaining about (among other things) the term 'star fucker.' She was not the least offended by seeing the term in print, only by its lack of what she called the 'activating hyphen.'... In 'star fucker,' without the hyphen, each word has equal weight: a fucker who is a star. But in 'star-fucker' the hyphen tips the weight to the first element, the object (star) of the activity embodied in the noun (fucking)."

From Mary Norris, "Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen."

(And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.)

30 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

That's bad writing. Man. Bad.

glenn said...

Actually you need to be a rainmaker.

mccullough said...

Good point. With the hyphen there is slightly more stress on the monosyllable preceding the hyphen than the first syllable following the hyphen.

tds said...

It's pickle-fucker then in Clerks 2

tcrosse said...

Then why are Motherfucker and Cocksucker each one unhyphenated word ? Should it not be Starfucker ?

Lucien said...

Reminding me of: "You can always depend on the ol' spy fucker".

Michael said...

These things lose their hyphen when they come into common parlance and develop meanings independent of their components. S-F still refers to a particular thing, while MF and CS are generalized terms of abuse.

You're welcome.

pacwest said...

I've always been confused as when to hyphenate. I thought this thread might help with that, but now you-guys are screwing it all-up. God-dammit.

William said...

Warren Beatty was both a star fucker and a star-fucker. He had enormous range.

Rabel said...

Baby, baby, I've been so sad since you've been gone.

Big Mike said...

This much I am sure of: if Mary Norris worked for “The New Yorker” then she doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So it would be dog-fucker.

Got it.

William said...

Warren Beatty hit on Sean Young. She refused his advances and accused him of sexual harassment. This is a classic case of a star fucker being fucked over by a star who didn't want to be a star-fucker.......Barbra Streisand criticized Sean Young for criticizing Warren Beatty. Just thought I'd throw that in.

William Chadwick said...

Inspired by George Carlin (who once called Southerners a bunch of cop-sniffers and soldier-fuckers), and tired of the a-historical and bastardized use of "liberal," I came up with and frequently use the terms "government-sniffers" and "State-fuckers." Note the hyphen.

Ambrose said...

I am a steak-lover. Now if I loved dogs in the same way as I love steak, would I use the hyphen or not?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Then shouldn’t she be the “copy-editor” not the “copy editor”?

Ralph L said...

If you're a star, you can grab women by the hyphen--I mean hymen.

Earnest Prole said...

Then shouldn’t she be the “copy-editor” not the “copy editor”?

Exactly.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of copy editors.

Mrs Whatsit said...

I clicked through to the link and discovered that this lady's claim to grammatical authority is that she is, or was, a copy editor for the New Yorker. Humph, I say. The days when that meant something are long gone. Just the other day I read a New Yorker article that blithely confuses the word "reticence" with "reluctance." (It was this one.) The copy editor at my college newspaper would have caught that. Harold Ross is spinning in his grave.

Curtiss said...

Russell-Shapiro, Russell Shapiro.

Ralph L said...

reticent
adj. Inclined to keep one's thoughts, feelings, and personal affairs to oneself. See Synonyms at silent.
adj. Restrained or reserved in style.
adj. Reluctant; unwilling.

American Heritage dictionary
I'm not being snotty, I was checking my own understanding of the word.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Is that why Laslo hyphenates b******!

Chuck said...

Headline:
"Students get first hand job experience"


From the Pratt (Kansas) Tribune.
https://boingboing.net/2017/10/31/headline-fail-kansas-students.html

Dr Weevil said...

Twenty-three comments and no one has observed that Catherine the Great was a horse-lover who had a horse lover, not the other way around? It's like I don't even know you people.

Ralph L said...

I got a 75% in that class.

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Bob said...

Joan Jett took a Rolling Stones baddy and put it on her 1983 album "Album," re-titled it because of record company pressure:

Star Star.

Clyde said...

Bob, I had Album on cassette back in 1983, and "Star, Star" was an uncredited hidden track at the end of the side. Great song, though. She set that song on fire and stomped the ashes.

JackOfClubs said...

So a Russell-Shapiro is one who Shapiros Russells but a Russell Shapiro would be a Russell who Shapiros? Got it.

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