How do Hallmark writers craft the perfect words for the holiday season, and why do Millennials feel left out?

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RODNAE Productions / Pexels

I, being a young millennial, can safely say I have never received a Christmas card from anyone my age, and I can think of just one time I sent a card out myself. The greeting card industry, likewise, is on a steady decline, and just like how we killed Applebee’s, Hallmark appears to be next.

As millennials earn less money and spend more time on social media, perhaps it’s not surprising that we’d ditch the traditional Hallmark card and send our Christmas wishes on Facebook instead. But you know who still loves Christmas cards? Boomers. …


Biden won the 2020 election, and Trump knows it.

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Dec. 14, Hawaii’s four electors cast the final Electoral College votes, making Joe Biden’s lead at 306–232 — and the Democratic presidential nomination — official. But this came as no surprise to many voters since, as of over a month ago, most news organizations including Fox News projected the election to end up in Biden’s favor.

If there was any doubt of a Biden presidency, it was borne out of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Following the news in early November that Democrats would be projected to win the 2020 presidential election, 45th President Donald Trump commenced an unprecedented campaign strategy. Seemingly, the goal was to make Americans question the validity of current voting procedures and cast doubt on the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory. On Nov. 5, Trump’s response to Biden’s projected win was no concession, instead arguing “if you count the legal votes, I easily win” before providing a list of explanations on how the voting system may have illegally and unjustly worked against him. Even after all 538 electors voted on Dec. 14, Trump fired back on Twitter the next day. “Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud,” the 45th president said. …


It’s time to step away from rigid writing rules in newswriting.

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Miles Hardacre / Pexels

Rules in writing have been a question of inquiry since the early 1980s, thanks to teachers and scholars in writing studies who believed that written drafts should emphasize process, not product. This is where writing provides an opportunity to discover one’s own identity and writing processes.

Confounding this existential process are rules. Particularly, writing process theorist Mike Rose’s 1980 contributions to the field have helped push the face of academic writing away from rigid expectations and toward an individualized process of discovering one’s unique writing style, approach, and intended audience. …


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It’s hard to accept that our childhood favorite series depicts animal abuse, but the sooner we do, the sooner the series can evolve

With almost 400 million sales since its first video game release in 1996, the Pokémon series is nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon. For those who grew up with the games and TV series, Pokémon is addicting and intensely nostalgic. Each game provides the interactive experience of travelling all around the world from lush forestland to sprawling cities to roaring seas, with each game set in regions based on Okinawa, Paris, New York City, the Scottish Highlands, and the list goes on. And, of course, we can’t forget the main attraction: the Pokémon creatures themselves. These powerful and, more importantly, adorable animal companions venture with you as travelling partners. Have you ever found yourself wanting a fluffdog that can breathe fire? A six-foot tall ferret that never stops walking? A cat that can generate infinite amounts of money? Or even a flying bear? With 896 creatures to choose from, Pokémon’s got you covered. …


A call for evidence-based editing

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Gustavo / Pexels

Ever since the internet ruined all our lives, we’ve had to deal with the eternal question when it comes time to proofread and revise the first draft: is it better to edit digitally or by hand?

Over the course of my editing career, I’ve gotten lots of advice from much more skilled editors and professors about what they think the best practices are for keeping typos few and far between. But at the same time, I’m never sure where they got their advice in the first place. When I was getting my editing certification through the American Copy Editors Society, one of the featured panelists said digital markup is better than editing by hand because you can increase the font, zoom in, change the text color, and do any number of things to make different typos pop out at you in different ways. In another case, my coworkers were at a journalism conference in DC, where industry professionals analyzed a newspaper I used to edit. The copy desk’s main suggestion was that if I stopped editing by hand, we’d make workflow more productive and decrease errors. …


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EarthBound is praised for its quirky, nostalgic American setting, but something far more profound lies beneath its cheerful surface

EarthBound might have been the weirdest roleplaying game of the 1990s. While 99% of RPGs on the market had fantasy settings, EarthBound is set in the heart of nineties Midwest America, here called “Eagleland.” While most RPG protagonists wield swords, cast spells, and drink healing potions, EarthBound’s protagonist Ness is a kid in a baseball cap who wields a baseball bat, has psychic sci-fi powers, and eats hamburgers when hurt.


Few can answer where it came from or what it means.

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Each year, Merriam-Webster chooses just one monumentally important word to represent the dictionary and our current language practices. The winner is crowned Word of the Year as all eyes watch. 2019’s “they,” 2018’s “justice,” and 2017’s “feminism” are tough acts to follow, but for me, there’s only one choice for 2020.

Whomst.

And to show you why, one need look no further than to the linguist’s best friend, Urban Dictionary. Here, whomst is “for when you want to ask ‘who or whom,’ but need a fancier connotation.” Looking at another definition on the site, it turns out such connotations are saved for only the most genteel inquiries such as, “Whomst the fuck calls laundry sauce ‘detergent’?” And if you want to crank the fanciness up to 11, just stack increasingly complex contractions right on top. Whomst’ve? Whomst’d’ve?? Whomst’d’ve’ly’yaint’nt’ed’ies’s’y’es??? (Be careful with the final one, though! …


In 1862, a poet from Amherst, Massachusetts, sent a letter to an editor in Worchester. No one in the world wrote like her, but she had no confidence whatsoever the day she asked him if her verse was alive. He provided kindness, a little editorial “surgery,” and then they became the best penpals in literary history for decades. As literary BFFs, they shared correspondence, poetry, writing tips, life talk, the whole shebang. …


Brace yourselves, internet, because today I’d like to talk about the most terrifying, most unsettling example of Freudian horror in all of literature: the Wegman dogs from Sesame Street.

Having sleep paralysis nightmares involving these half-dog, half-human hellspawn was like a rite of passage for all nineties babies. But if you’re not aware, Sesame Street had this segment where dogs with human hands would perform everyday activities. They’d bake, go to restaurants, get haircuts, calculate basic arithmetic, perform medical examinations, all kinds of mundane things like that.

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From “Peanut Butter Sandwich.” Sesame Street episode 3740. Source.

The effect appears to involve having both the dog and human actor wear the same shirt while the dog’s head pokes through the neck hole, and the theme seems to be that the Wegman dogs impart everyday life skills that you, the viewer, can use, except with dog people because…reasons. …


There’s always that memorable day of the year, usually in June, where writers and editors all come together to experience one of life’s greatest joys: picking up the new edition of the Associated Press Stylebook. (Print, of course, since nobody likes the digital version.) It’s also the beginning of a long tradition where everyone tears the AP a new one for making updates that RUIN the English language, and for removing ones that kept grammatical law and order.

Now, the descriptivist editors among us know that language changes is inevitable, and it can also be productive in making writing as clear and ethical as possible. …

About

Cody Wiesner

I use my English degree and proofreading background to discuss life’s greatest joys: copy editing, language, literature, and the writing process.

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