Friday, August 19, 2011

Around the Word

Decoding hipster speak: Like the Beatniks and punks before them, the hipsters who haunt urban culture these days have developed their very own exclusive lingo. If you'd like to get keyed into what those indie kids in Williamsburg and West Hollywood are saying, or harness some of that hipster cool for your own use, check out Hipster Ipsum, a cheeky new translation website. Particularly useful for those who'd like to write about hipster culture but don't speak the language, Hipster Ipsum will automatically generate content -- or as HI says, "artisinal filler text for your site or project." Take, for example, a small excerpt from the jargon it created for GalleyCat: "Beard lo-fi cred, yr scenester art party vinyl put a bird on it. Farm-to-table 3 wolf moon locavore, wayfarers portland carles high life leggings tumblr." Feel younger yet?

Freelancer legal loss: If times weren't tough enough for freelance writers. . . . A federal appeals court in New York this week overturned a major judgment that a group of freelancers won against The New York Times, Reed Elsevier, and others for copyright infringement. The writers -- who claimed that publishers violated their copyright by electronically reproducing and posting their work -- were originally awarded a settlement of up to $18 million. But according to Bloomberg News, the Second Circuit rejected that ruling on similar standing grounds as the recent discrimination case brought against Walmart. "We conclude that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the class and approving the settlement, because the named plaintiffs failed to adequately represent the interests of all class members,” the opinion said.

All the snooze that's fit to print: For all you speech junkies who just can't get enough of Bernie Sanders' infamous 8-1/2 hour stemwinder on the Senate floor last year, we have good news. The Independent from Vermont is publishing a book with the full text of the speech -- a fillibuster decrying Obama's deal with Republicans to preserve the Bush-era tax cuts -- along with an original introduction. If the book (economically entitled The Speech) seems a little too daunting, you can watch Sanders talk about his protest rant and respond to questions in a segment from C-SPAN Book TV -- a cool one hour in itself.

Give your prose a voice-over: You can't swing a live speech coach these days without getting some tips for gearing your writing for the spoken word. But ever wonder what benefits flow in the other direction? In a meaty piece this week, Ragan's Russell Working illustrates a number of ways that stepping up to the podium can held improve the wordsmithing of even the most seasoned writers. Toastmaster International members graciously shared some of their takeaways from public speaking group events -- such as, read your work aloud, solicit criticism, be concise, and count your "uhs" and "ums." You'd be surprised how many awkward sentences and typos you can find by running your writing through your vocal chords and reading aloud is also a cost-effective way to beta test new material. Be sure to check out the full list of tips and let us know if there's anything you think they missed.

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