12 novembre 2010


Trade magazines are notoriously the most boring of all publications: devoted to the technical minutiae and internal politics of any given business sector, the editorial is of strictly limited interest and, consequently, of strictly limited readability.
The one glorious exception is the entertainment industry magazine Variety, which has been offering Hollywood, Broadway, and, latterly, TV world, insights in its own fantastic idiolect. In a self-celebratory mood, Variety has published a guide to its own "slanguage", which lets the outside world in on terms like "shingle", "oater" and "nabe" .

Go on, look 'em up.

But what's arguably most remarkable about the glossary is how many of the words don't seem strange at all: "biopic", "fave", "flop", "boffo", "dramedy", "sitcom" are part of everyday language, and any reasonably media-literate person would have no trouble accepting and understanding them.

Presumably, too, there was a time when "biopic" seemed like a properly outlandish term. Will our media-savvy language evolve to the point that everyone uses the word "shingle" to describe a small offshoot business, or "diskery" for record company? Better yet, could Varietyspeak attain a cult status of its own, like Klingon? Will weird little nerds start making their own films in Varietyspeak, and posting them on YouTube? We can but hope.