Lately it seems as if everywhere you look there are practitioners of what Deborah Cameron has called "verbal hygiene" (all manner of activities "born of an urge to improve or 'clean up' language," as Cameron puts it in her book of that title). From best-selling authors to cartoonists, from op-ed columnists to Supreme Court nominees both approved and waiting in the wings, everyone's getting into the act. Now verbal hygienists are exploring a new ecological niche: the blogosphere.
Of course, the blogosphere is already much more than an ecological
niche — it's a thriving ecosystem unto itself (a blogobiosphere?), able
to support its own abundant array of niches, subniches, and
subsubniches. Thus it's not surprising that we now find "peeveblogging"
— weblogs slavishly devoted to particular points of grammar,
usage. Here are two examples, though no doubt there are many more
lurking out there in the underbrush.
(The blogger, who goes only by Chris, wryly speculates, "Maybe there is a 'Thai' Herb, and this is his restaurant.")
The granddaddy of peeveblogging actually predates the era of rampant blogification. Begun in the antediluvian year of 1996, The Gallery Of "Misused" Quotation Marks was faithfully curated by the visionary Evan "Funk" Davies. Sadly, it seems that Davies stopped updating the site in 2000 (a broken link to CDnow, long since overtaken by the Amazon behemoth, sits forlornly at the top of the page). But the Gallery's spiritual descendants live on in the new cyberecology. Let a thousand grousers grow.Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at October 25, 2005 01:00 AM