How 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