DiManno Watch: Webster’s Defines…
Rosie DiManno sucks. Every day, poor Toronto Star readers are subjected to another over-the-top, awkwardly-written, occasionally-insulting column about the day’s top depressing story from the purple-streaked purveyor of pulp. Torontoist, for one, can’t take it anymore: it’s time to take out the trash.
DiManno Watch needed a bit of a breather for the past week, and, really, we have no one other than DiManno to thank for that. Sure, she’s subtly insulted immigrants about Remembrance Day, and The Star did really unprofessionally misquote us making fun of her, but subtle racism is only like a 3 on the DiManno scale, and we’ve got skin as thick as that purple streak in Rosie’s hair. (So, pretty thick.)
Thankfully, something bad has happened–-DiManno’s specialty. Pathologist Dr. Charles Smith has admitted to making mistakes in twenty criminal cases that have led to jail time––as many as twelve years in one case––for some of those he’s testified against. Understandably, some people are a bit grumpy about it. DiManno’s article, published today, is titled “‘Disgraced’ pathologist only the start.” And why is disgraced in quotation marks? Witness the very first paragraph:
Disgraced: “To bring shame or discredit upon; to remove from favour or position.” (Webster’s definition)
4/6 DIMANNOS (The more DiMannos, the worse the column is.)
Hack: a writer whose writings aim mainly at commercial success rather than literary quality. (Webster’s definition)
Yes, a Webster’s definition of a word is actually the lead-in to a newspaper article and not a grade 9 essay about love, beauty, or truth. The rest of the article isn’t so bad (for DiManno), but holy crap, does that first paragraph ever reek of someone entirely out of ideas. (Maybe she is retiring?) It’s like DiManno struggled for hours to figure out a way to start her article, got really frustrated, said “fuck it,” picked up the dictionary on her shelf––the one that she consults whenever she needs to find bigger-than-necessary-or-practical words, like “phalanx,” “amorphous,” and “obeisance,” to fill her article with to sound smart––and flipped to the D’s.
Besides, everyone knows that if you have to outright cite a dictionary, you use the Oxford English Dictionary, not Webster’s. With the OED, for instance, you can learn that the word hackney––which “hack” is almost always a short form of––was first used to describe an unremarkable horse (the word itself originates from the French “haquenée,” “an ambling horse or mare, especially for ladies to ride on”). That unremarkability is why the word “hackneyed” also came to apply to stale and worn-out writing (and, hilariously, stale and worn-out prostitutes). By the way, the OED defines “disgraced” as “the disfavour of one in a powerful or exalted position, with the withdrawal of honour, degradation, dishonour, or contumely, which accompanies it.” That sounds about right.