working

I’m at work reading research articles on invasive species in South Florida. I am perplexed by the persistent use of “impact” as a (transitive) verb in the research documents I’ve read and edited. I’ve changed it during some of my editing opportunities, only to have it reinserted by my boss, so it must be lingo he prefers. Maybe it’s a science thing. Anyway, I’m reading about Green Iguanas in Florida, and the Green Iguana population boom that occurred in one state park after a number of raccoons were removed. This line made me giggle: The 2001-2002 Raccoon removal program evicted 263 animals.

The raccoons were evicted. I have a mental image of a raccoon leaving the park with his hobo bag dangling from a stick propped against his shoulder. I hear my little hobo raccoon saying in Cartman’s voice, “Screw you guys, I’m outta here.” Of course, evicted sounds better than euthanized, which is what actually happened.

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On another note, is it me or is it him? How do I tell? Maybe it’s never me and it’s always him (them)? I’m talking about the author of a book I’m reading. With all the talk about buyouts going on, I’ve been feeling low, and decided to focus some energy on learning about Ezra Pound. Now, I would consider myself a generous, patient reader. If something is not clear to me, I’ll keep reading with the assumption that as I progress, the pieces will fall into place. Well, this biography is testing my patience. Not the content so much as the writing style. I don’t have the book in front of me, so I can’t give an example of the work, but it strikes me as trying too hard to be clever. You see, I just want to learn about Ezra Pound and enjoy the process of learning about Ezra Pound. I leave it to the biographer to choose how he/she presents Pound’s story, and I’m willing to do my part and be an active reader. However, this bio has me asking “is it all going to be written like this?” and I find myself thumbing through the book to preview other sections. Eventually, I put the biography down and moved on to a book by Dinty Moore. Perhaps I’m not in the right state of mind to appreciate a book like the bio on Pound (ie: a patient state of mind). Then I wonder whether I worked hard enough to “get it.” (Hence the “is it me or is it him?” question).

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2 thoughts on “working

  1. Regarding “impact”—I think it’s the whole disciplinary term thing in action. Having been in a profession (landscape arch.) that tends to cross with a lot of others (planning, arch., horticulture, environmental studies, plant bio., interior design, industrial design, art, etc.) I’ve seen many words used in weird/inventive/crazy ways. Then I encountered the same thing when editing composition articles. The compositionists drove me nuts. They’d use a disciplinary term from another field and then re-define it to fit their discussion about composition without bothering to explain their usage to the reader.

  2. One of my new assignments for my students in the fall is to look up words in the OED online through the library. The list is comprised of 10 targets; the first three: ‘impact’, ‘since’, and ‘per’.

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