Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Drat those deadlines, whose offspring are cliches. Anyone, other than Orwell, who thinks they can be avoided has never been a journalist on deadline. Then there was Mark Twain, who said that Adam was the only one who ever lived who could say something and be confident it hadn't been said before. This impressively cliche-thin article includes a fun fact about "short shrift." Shrift is confession, and short shrift is when an impatient executioner abbreviates the prisoner's last meeting with a priest. "Among literal uses of it, the OED shows nothing later than 1889."


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