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Editor-speak decoded

September 23, 2011

Here are two more entries in the (rather clichéd) “what X really means when they say Y” genre – this time for editors, book publicists, and jacket copy writers:  Part 1 and Part 2.

For me the most painful entry was by Jennifer Weiner:

“frothy romp”: “funny book by lady” “Funny = funny book by a man”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2011 11:58 am

    She’s not wrong, but Auntie Mame and the Lucia and Miss Mapp books were certainly described as frothy romps, though they were written by men. (Granted, they were gay men, which may place them in the “lady” camp, but they were certainly frothy as well as funny.)

  2. September 23, 2011 1:38 pm

    I think for E. F. Benson (and presumably for Patrick Dennis) the usual euphemistic code word is “camp.”

    “E. F. Benson” & “camp” returns 49,400 hits and all the top 10 hits refer to “camp humor,” “camp novels,” “camp comic masterpieces,” etc.

    “P. G. Wodehouse” (who by objective standards, would seem to be pretty frothy — and pretty campy too) & “camp” returns 762,000 hits, but all the top 10 hits refer to “German internment camp,” “Boy Scout camp,” etc.

    Moral? By codeword standards,

    * men are “funny,”
    * women are “frothy,”
    * gay men are “campy,” and
    * P. G. Wodehouse is a Nazi collaborator.

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