A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thoughts While Waiting for the Clothes to Dry

When did "mic" become the dominant spelling for the short form of "microphone"? I see it everywhere in newspapers and online: e.g., "He grabbed the mic out of my hands" and "Tuesday is open mic night at the comedy club." When I was editing stuff, I used to change it to "mike," which seems to me a better spelling because it looks like words it rhymes with: "bike" and "hike" and ... well, "like." But "mic" seems to me like it should sound like a derogatory word for an Irishman. And other words spelled with a final -ic, like a ballpoint pen brand name and another racist word that unfortunately comes to mind, are pronounced as if they rhyme with "pick," not "pike."

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