semantic drift: popup; deconstruct

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sun Feb 24 01:56:36 UTC 2008

I've been gritting my teeth over the pretentious use of "deconstruct" for "analyse" for several years.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:55 pm
Subject: semantic drift: popup; deconstruct

> In front of me is a special-issue magazine called _100 Greatest War
> Movies_ (ed. Gene Santoro, Leesburg, Va.: Weider History Group, 2007).
>  It seems to target a middlebrow readership
>   The cover blurbs announce, among other things, "191 popups" -
> meaning brief sidebars - mostly of fewer than thirty or forty words -
> printed in boxes to resemble computer popups. They're often
> superimposed over photographs to look even more like annoying online
> popups. Wow. I've never been so excited.
>   Of far greater interest is the main blurb promising "The best films
> ranked, reviewed, deconstructed."
>   To "deconstruct" here means "to critique or analyze in any way at
> all."  In fact, the critiquing and analyzing are basically
> indistinguishable from "reviewing," with phrases like "stark images,"
> "acerbic wit," and "in suite with an exquisite score."
>   JL
> ---------------------------------
> Never miss a thing.   Make Yahoo your homepage.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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