Playing with Your Johnson?


Samuel_Johnson_by_Joshua_Reynolds.jpgHow many of you knew that Robert Guest writes (but soon won’t as he is sadly returning to mother England) Lexington’s Notebook for the Economist? And before him, Adrian Wooldridge?
Probably not many of you. These talented, wonderfully snarky political junkies make these iconic columns work, but we don’t often know anything other than the symbolic byline.
Now, a friend of mine with whom I once got incredibly drunk in Jerusalem — apologies to all on whatever lines you may be — has re-launched on the web the “Johnson” page of the Economist.
Named after essayist and person of letters, Samuel Johnson, the original “Johnson page” was about language.
As its new advocate reports about Johnson, the blog:

In its 21st-century incarnation, Johnson will be about language spoken and written, English and not, good, bad, weird and ugly.
The postings so far already feature the Hebrew commandments, the German insult for “wet behind the ears”, half-baked attempts to set up an English Academy, Barack Obama’s use of “ass”, why the New York Times won’t let its correspondents use the verb “tweet”, and even our belated realization that our own blog name recalls, in some puerile minds, the American slang for the male member.

Johnson, did you know that while the Washington Post will allow its writers to use the word “Skype” as a noun or a verb, the Post will not allow any of its staff to actually install Skype on firm computers?
Should be fun. The writer behind the scenes on this one is Lane Greene.
Last time I’ll tell you though.
— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Playing with Your Johnson?

  1. AlanK says:

    Skype is indeed ‘magnificent’ and I use it. The only significant security issue is for corporations who want their data secure. If an employee installs Skype on their laptop and then uses it while connected to the corporate network, there is a way, not currently protected by the usual security methodologies, for an outsider to gain access to the data on the network. Of course, counter measures are being developed currently, but at present, these are not widely deployed.


  2. Steve Clemons says:

    For me, Skype is magnificent. Defer to the internet security experts here otherwise on whether right or not to use it for business. I do.


  3. Sand says:

    I just installed Skype last night. So, what’s the problem with Skype?
    Another ‘snarky’ post — reviewing Melanie Phillip’s new book [I guess in some ways she could be considered the UK’s equivalent of Jeffrey Goldberg]
    — The World Turned Upside Down by Melanie Phillips
    Encounter Books,


  4. Alan K says:

    “Johnson, did you know that while the Washington Post will allow its writers to use the word “Skype” as a noun or a verb, the Post will not allow any of its staff to actually install Skype on firm computers?”
    According to a well known expert on computer security who spoke to our investor group last week, Skype is an open tunnel relatively easy to exploit by knowledgeable hackers.
    The Post’s policy is not misguided.


  5. Don Bacon says:

    Reminds mo of last October when my sweety and I were in Australia about to embark on a two week adventure tour from Adelaide across the country (continent) to Darwin, including sleeping out under the stars in swags (waterproof bedrolls — as in jolly swagman).a We were unfamiliar with this Aussy custom.
    When we got to the head of the check-in line she asked: “What’s a shag?” Honey — it’s SWAG. Snickers all ’round, well deserved.


  6. wahoofive says:

    They can probably use the word “porn” in their articles too but not
    install it on their computers. At least not officially. I’m sure they can
    write about rape, etc. Your example is pretty weak.


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