Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vocabulammary: Irreverently Splenetic

I happened across this article from Mollygood while writing about George Carlin's passing a week or so back and found it quite interesting, though slightly flawed:

As the blogger notes, irreverent has a religious connotation. The New York Times thought splenetic more appropriate, as it drops the religious implications, but the truth is that Carlin often touched on religion in his act, as well as film career. An avowed atheist, Carling frequently referred to his Catholic school upbringing, criticized Christianity, and sometimes even mocked God.

While his material was far from blasphemous, irreverent it most certainly was. Which leads me to wonder: Did the NYT change it to avoid offending certain readers, or was it just trying to flex its vocab muscles?

Doesn't really matter, since the terms are largely interchangeable, but I had to point-out that irreverent is more specific and correct in this case. Proper form would be to use the most specific word, and good journalism requires you know your facts; the writer of the NYT piece should have done his homework a little better!

© C Harris Lynn, 2008
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