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Friday, 13 September 2002

Don't you dare

"What is wrong with this sentence? “The enormity of Bruce Chatwin's massive celebrity is, ironically, legendary.” Answer: apart from being utter tripe, almost every word in it is guaranteed to have editors snarling with rage.

"Enormity, for starters, does not mean huge — strictly speaking it means great wickedness. Chatwin is banned by the New Statesman Editor, Peter Wilby, for being a chattering-class favourite. He also hates massive. It doesn't mean great in size, but great in mass. The word celebrity is regarded as overused by several papers. The Guardian won't have ironically used in anything other than the proper sense. And John Witherow of The Sunday Times detests legendary." [more, The Times, so free registration for UK readers]

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