Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Please, please, daily newspaper writers and media people of all stripes, I'm begging you! Get thee to a dictionary and look up "notorious," and its more frequently used noun "notoriety." I suspect that you are not using it correctly. I hate to be a pedant, but I am tired of reading stories that inform me that someone is gaining notoriety for their work -- these are stories which leave me wondering if the subject will be shunned by the community. From "Known widely and usually unfavorably; infamous: a notorious gangster; a district notorious for vice." Just a few randomly selected examples follow.

For instance, from a Washington Post article:

Other swimmers who have been through similar transitions, whose success has brought increased notoriety, say there's only one way to handle the shift: Grow up. Fast.

The Boston Globe:

Filling the reality vacuum is Bluff's closest thing to a celebrity or, for that matter, a patriarch. Ennis Lauer won his notoriety on a TV endurance contest called "Grit!" His fame translated into finances, which enabled him to sponsor a "mission" to "Terrestria," AFA-speak for the country beyond Bluff.

The Sacramento Bee:

When Thomas remarked that it would be awesome to have a drink named after him, Marcum obliged with The Paul Thomas, a rum and Coke-like concoction with the requisite secret ingredients."Maybe one day, it'll be in every bar, nationwide, coast to coast," Thomas said, eyes going soft at the idea of his imminent notoriety. "I can dream."

It is not a stand-in for "popular." OK?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:13 AM

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