McCall it what you like, but you didn’t invent it: “menopausing”

In June of this year, a couple of months ago as I write this, the Intellectual Property Office received an application to trade mark the word menopausing. Not especially exciting news, all things given. Nor was the fact that, on Friday the 20th of August, that trade mark was formally published. Indeed, thousands of trade marks are registered every year, and this extremely commonplace matter would likely have gone entirely unnoticed, except for one detail. The trade mark owner was listed as Davina McCall. That’s the Davina of Big Brother fame (amongst other things) whose current life course seems to plot generally towards the eighth house of Gwyneth Paltrow rising.

Back to the trade mark for menopausing. The matter may have passed everyone else on earth by, but somehow, in the predawn hours, a single Daily Mail thread vibrated, and immediately journalist Katie Hind rapelled down from that gigantic web to chalk a horrified outline round the matter in the shape of wronged menopausal women everywhere.

The headline was not flattering, and the content itself was unrepentant in its allusions: Continue reading

Digby, Lord Jones: the man who took on linguistics and lost

Over the past forty-eight hours, an individual by the name of Digby Jones has pulled off a remarkable linguistic hat-trick. In Act I, apropos of nothing, Digby launches into a lengthy complaint about Alex Scott’s accent. He’s doubled-down on it and keeps saying it’s about “elocution”, despite the fact that around 200 linguists have told him what he’s commenting on really is accent, but what would we all know. We’re just PhDs in the subject. Anyway, in Act II, as the backlash mounts, he complains that he is now being cancelled. (Remember, it’s only cancel culture if it comes from the Cancélle region of France. Otherwise it’s just the sparkling white consequences of your actions. At some point I’m going to write a post about what “cancel culture” actually means but I don’t have the strength of character today.) And then in Act III, he tops it all off by describing Alex Scott as “coloured”. If you don’t know why that last one is bad but you’re striving to be a better person, start with this primer from the BBC.

Honestly, it’s been so much that at points I started to wonder if he was a parody account, but sadly not only is he real, he is a mouthpiece for a lot of people who think just like him. So let’s carry out a neat linguistic post mortem just on Act I of this very public body of evidence, and see where a few of the problems kick in. Continue reading