Most of the mainline reviews of Robert McCrum’s Globish – of which there have been so many so fast that I am in awe of his publicity people -- are missing what is fundamentally wrong with the book. Herewith one linguist’s take on this peculiar book, within which all evaluators seem to perceive a certain fuzziness, but few are catching that it is based on an outright error of reasoning and analysis – as well as an infelicitous volume of downright flubs. McCrum starts with the well-known fact that English is now the world’s de facto universal language.
Long before Martin Wolf became the chief economics columnist for the Financial Times, he wrote the newspaper letters--lots and lots of letters. It was the early 1980s, the height of the Thatcher era, and Wolf was running research at a think tank in London that was sympathetic to the government's pro-trade agenda.
With 1990s films such as Clerks and Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith pioneered the kind of tender raunch that, under Judd Apatow, has come to dominate American comedy. As Apatow himself once put it, “Kevin Smith laid down the track.” Now, though, the train has left the station and, like everyone else, Smith is desperately trying to climb back aboard.
For years Dr. Peter Klementowicz suspected that pharmaceutical sales representatives knew more about the prescriptions he was writing than they let on. Klementowicz, a cardiologist in Nashua, New Hampshire, would occasionally hear curious statements from drug reps, such as, “you’re one of my targets.” His suspicion peaked when a friend told him she overheard a group of reps at a local Panera Bread discussing ways to induce Klementowicz to prescribe their drugs. How did they know he wasn’t already prescribing their drugs?
Fanny Burney: A Biography By Claire Harman (Alfred A.
John Adams By David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 751 pp., $35) I. At the height of the XYZ Affair in 1798, when American public outrage against France verged on war hysteria, President John Adams briefly enjoyed the sort of popular acclaim that he had long thought he deserved. In Paris, the French foreign minister Talleyrand had tried to bribe three American envoys sent by Adams to negotiate an end to continuing maritime hostilities between the two erstwhile allies.