too much typing—since 2003


boxed cars are pulling out of town?

In a continuing effort to do my bit to solve the most pressing, compelling problems afflicting the world today, I will here establish that it is a grave error to persist in referring to "mixed CDs/tapes" or "boxed sets." The proper terms are "mix CDs" and "box sets," and by the authority vested in me by my own very self, I will explain.

Essentially, the participial forms preferred by persnickety copy editors reek too strongly of verb. What's germane about a mix CD is not that someone sat down and mixed together a random bunch of songs, but that the resulting object is a mix, a created object more integral than the mere sum of its parts: more in the manner of paint, carefully blended in proportions, than of randomly ordered nuts (unless, unbeknownst to me, Buddy Squirrel and Mr. Peanut work cryptic kabala with the cashews). Similarly, a box set isn't distinctive because someone somewhere boxed it (after all, "box" as a verb is sometimes used to mean "pack up" even when no actual box-like objects are involved) but because it looks like a box, big and square and aggressively three-dimensional. Furthermore, "mixed" in relation to music has another, older meaning (to blend the instruments that make up the recording), and so referring to a "mixed CD" could make one think of a finished CD rather than, say, a work in progress that hasn't been mixed yet. Finally, the use of "boxed set" and "mixed CD" is physically risky to the teeth and tongue, since pronouncing those phrases requires way too many collisions between the two body parts. Four out of five dentists prefer "box set" to preserve tooth enamel. And trust me, you don't want to stand too close to Sylvester over there when he's enunciating "boxed set" at you.

(Still and all: perhaps it's incipient elderly flatulence setting in, but the phrase "mix CD" just doesn't flow as trippingly from the tongue as "mix tape"...but who makes those anymore? Yes, I am trolling the Magnetic Tape Fanciers' League of America: nyah nyah-nee nyah-nyah)

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