– Mark E. Smith

Here he goes again: Dandy/Globe columnist Russell Smith, who fancies himself enough of a language maven that he talked CBC into giving him a radio show on the English language, takes credit for a variant of l33tspeak. The last time that happened, he did it by failing to properly attribute obvious lifting from Wikipedia, one tiny degree of separation from outright plagiarism. Now, in a column about the seriously dubious nomination of woot as word of the year, Smith crows I TOLD YOU SO:

It is unseemly for a reporter [he’s actually a columnist] to gloat about a scoop… but a columnist [I thought he was a reporter] may be permitted to voice some look-at-me satisfaction when the Associated Press discovers a concept he wrote about three years ago and makes a big deal about it.

AP isn’t even the actual source. Smith explains the etymology of woot as “a cry of triumph on defeating an opponent [that] comes from the hacker imperative to control another person or company’s computer, and one does that by gaining access to the ‘root’ directory. Woot is a childish mispronunciation of root.” This is nonsense, as a real lexicographer demonstrated. At least it wasn’t cribbed from Wikipedia.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.12.27 13:09. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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