too much typing—since 2003


cum now

Out of the gutter, you. No, I'm talking about the Latin-derived preposition meaning "together" or "with" that's used typically to link attributes; "artist-cum-promoter" from this article, for example. If I were Dictator of the Universe - or just an editor - I'd ban this pointless word altogether. It's pretentious - and I'll bet a good portion of readers are rather puzzled by it, assume it's not what they think it is (it's not), and move on, with no loss of meaning whatsoever, since "artist-promoter" or "artist/promoter" conveys exactly the same thing. I rather doubt any actual human has actually spoken the word - not that speech is the sole arbiter for writing, but it can certainly be a guideline. And of course there is that distracting identity of the spelling to the porn world's favorite term.

It does seem sometimes as if journalists use "a-cum-b" as shorthand for "thinks he's an a but he's really only a b" - but maybe that's just my impression, colored by the context of the article linked above. (Automatic demerit points for using only one name; and the guy should go back to designing junior-high girls' social-studies folders.) But really: doesn't the phrase "artist/promoter" rather convey the same impression all by itself - with greater subtlety and less potential for confusion?

1 comment:

Trickish Knave said...

I would have to agree that the word should be limited in use to college distinction suma cum laude or really heavy pillow talk. This article is another example of a failed attempt to use Latin intermingled with common speak.

She doesn't think too highly of Wyland either. Here in Hawaii his work is all over the place. Lahaina galleries specialize in Wyland art. I like it; I don't know what her problem is. Maybe she had a crush on him and wanted some heavy pillow talk.