Stephen Fry vs Godzilla
If a city was subject to bimonthly attacks by Godzilla, would that mean the humongous lizard stomped around twice a month or every two months?
The most recent topic of conversation at Euroffice is how confusing language can be. It all started when someone sent out an email about a ‘bimonthly’ meeting. We couldn’t figure out if that meant every two weeks or couple of months. Finally the OED was consulted and it was proclaimed that the word meant both things at the same time.
Can you imagine being the head of the Ministry of Monster Defense with that kind of confusion? ‘I’m sorry, Prime Minister, we failed to protect London from Godzilla because we couldn’t find clarity in a dictionary. ‘
Something needs to be done. We need a hero to step up, not only to make sure Westminster Abbey doesn’t end up as a giant footprint, but to take control of confusing language in the office. An arbiter who can say this means that. Someone we can turn to in our hour of need to explain whether impacted means affected or shortened and if only aero planes can be pressurized, while staff are put under pressure.
But who’s smart enough to help us? Stephen Fry. He’s made a BBC documentary about language (Fry’s Planet Word) and has taken people to task for pretending to care about words when they really don’t. What’s more, he’s probably posh enough to fit in at the MoMD. (And he’s really tall, which is good in a dust-up against a giant lizard.)
So remember, if you have any questions about language just tweet @stephenfry. Admittedly I don’t know the man or have permission to put his Twitter details up, but I like to think this blog post is a kind of ‘batsignal’ for our national treasure. (If you’re reading this Stephen, I think you’re really book so please don’t be annoyed.)