November 14, 2004

Required Reading

Pardon my preening, but my amazing, omni-talented and beautiful wife Sheryl, has another article in today's Washington Post. I think you'll find it says, to quote Pope, "what oft was thought but n'ere so well expressed":

Indecent Exposure
When Did Cookware and Fly-Fishing Go X-Rated?
By Sheryl Van der Leun

So there I was, perusing the Perfex salt grinders at my local Williams-Sonoma store, when I overheard an excited thirty-something shopper exclaim breathlessly as she walked by the $1,999 Jura-Capresso Impressa S8 Super Automatic Espresso Coffeemaker, "Oh, this is pure kitchen-porn. Get me out of here...."
-- Indecent Exposure (

There's more on this full frontal assault on our traditional linguistic values. Take a look.

Posted by Vanderleun at November 14, 2004 12:54 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Reckon I'll have to stop calling American Digest "one totally pimped site."

Posted by: ccwbass at November 14, 2004 1:19 PM

I resemble that remark. You'll get yours, Bass.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at November 14, 2004 1:25 PM

Kudos to the talented Mrs. V. The degradation of language through pop culture is one of the great sins of this generation. I am properly impressed. Terrific message!

Posted by: Woody at November 14, 2004 2:31 PM

Several years ago I read Tom Shachtman's remarkable book The Inarticulate Society. Sheryl's article, while humorously engaging on one level (as intended, I'm sure), really speaks to a larger problem, that of the crisis of articulate expression.

Posted by: greg at November 14, 2004 3:34 PM

Language is all about communication and it changes whether you like it or not, in whatever direction it needs to go, whether you like it or not.

The infiltration of the word "porn" through colloquial speech is fascinating on several levels. First, it's felt to be a needed word. It indicates something that is highly polished, but also contains unrealistic expectations (much like porn). How else to describe Martha's lavishly detailed lifestyles.

And I've read Levenger's catalog, and how better to describe its "tools for reading"? Do you really need a polished oak reading stand? What happened to using your hands?

Second, since so many people consider the word an acceptable and easily understood definition of a certain type of product, what does it say about the ubiquitiousness of porn? Perhaps more people have seen them than we'd like to think?

Anyway, good to see your wife make the Post. It's a fine piece of writing.

Posted by: Bill Peschel at November 14, 2004 6:56 PM

Gah! I didn't mean it in the pejorative! I used to sell guitars 'n such - "pimp" is actually quite a compliment in certain circles [note to self: insert Dante joke as soon as a good one comes to mind].

Having dodged that bullet, I'm a-goin' to bed, I am.

Posted by: ccwbass at November 15, 2004 12:49 AM