Magazine article Communication World

Caviar Emptor! the Careless Customer Can End Up with Faux Roe in His Face

Magazine article Communication World

Caviar Emptor! the Careless Customer Can End Up with Faux Roe in His Face

Article excerpt

New millennium [*] decade....same old same old admonition from this low-rent cubicle: Do Not Spell By Ear (said scientifically, Eschew Otoorthography). The same old argument against the practice continues: When the perpetrator errs, the cloak of stupidity descends. Here is a recent instance of SBE lifted from the Boston Globe:

"[The museum displays] the shackles worn by Anthony Burns, an escaped slave whose arrest made him a cause celeb in 1850...."

Close, but the cheroot is nowhere in sight.

The writer could have made it through the minefield using only celeb -- the now standard clip for celebrity, or "a famous or well publicized person" (Webster's New World College Dict. 4th ed. 1999) -- but he chose to pair it with cause. This created the teratoma cause celeb, which apparently was close enough to needed cause celebre to satisfy Mr. Easy. A cause celebre (p1. Causes celebres), according to Merriam-Webster's 10th Collegiate, 1999, is "1 : a legal case that excites widespread interest 2 : a notorious person, thing, incident, or episode."

[(*.) N.B. -- please excuse that solecistic new millennium in the lede ... my bad. That event, sure to loom anew wreathed in recrudescent angst and dire prophecy, is due on site in 2001.]

The same newspaper reported on January 2, 2000, that "The world did not end yesterday." Writer Charles M. Sennott subsequently referred to "chilling vignettes about the 'End of Days,' as the Book of Revelations calls the violent upheaval prophesied to precede the return of the Messiah." All local resources favor no-s Revelation as the headline for the final book of the New Testament; it's also called Apocalypse.

* Last century, Newsweek ran a foodie sidebar on the faux-caviar business (Nov. 29). Erika Check's bright, informative 300 words were a real treat -- a plate scraper -- all the way to the last word... literally. Will you catch the miscue?

"So if regulators can't save the fish, epicureans may find themselves spreading paddlefish roe on their blinis." Ms. Check forgot to.

But CW's routine check of new-to-us noun blinis disclosed these useful data, by way of the 3rd edition, American Heritage Dictionary, 1998: 1) blinis -- no entry; 2) blini -- "n. Plural of blin." 3) blin -- "n. a small, light pancake served with hot melted butter, sour cream, and various other garnishes such as caviar or lox." Look things up. Try to do the right thing. This will amaze and gratify your readers.

These words of advice would have helped an area freelancer do a more professional job on her published piece called "The Art of Building Walls. …

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