Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Crime Against the Language

For some reason, my dentist has a television in his examining room. I think it is odd, but from what people tell me, it is becoming more common.
I was there today to have a real tooth filed down so that a steel and porcelain one could be inserted in its place - and there, on the TV is Regis and Kelly (it's a show and people, so I'm not sure how to punctuate it). For most of my visit, they were yammering on about something or other (which Regis has perfected as an art form) and, after the procaine was beginning to kick in, up pops Jenny McCarthy.
She wasn't there for her health, or mine. Rather, she was there to promote a new tome she allegedly penned called Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth (hardcover $18). I don't know exactly what the book is about because, for the duration of the interview, I had a live drill in my mouth. But, the thing I kept hearing over and over (apart from my muffled screams) was the word author.
Regis kept repeating it over and over, in that voice where he sounds surprised. "Look at you, you're an author!", "It's fantastic that you're an author." "Jenny, you're an author!" I heard the word author so many times that it began to lose its meaning, particularly where Jenny McCarthy is concerned.
Mind you, I have nothing against Jenny. She's cute, sort of funny and she will take her clothes off and let us look - so what's not to like? What I don't like is the use of the word author to refer to both Jenny McCarthy and Ernest Hemmingway or Susan Sontag or Ogden Nash or James Frey ... oh, uh ... bad example.
The point is, I don't think Regis would continually exclaim the word author if Stephen King was on the show. "Stephen, you're an author!" "Look at you, you're an author!" It doesn't fit somehow.
There should be another word for anyone who has done a Playboy video, appeared naked in a magazine or hosted a goofy television show besides "author". Entertainer, goofball, good-natured nut ... I don't know, just pick one and use it in the place of author when you are talking about how she relates to the book. Maybe Regis should have just said, "Jenny, you wrote a book!" allegedly Although, he still would have sounded surprised.
As for me, I'll wait for the video to come out.

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