Repealing the Appalling
and Remaining Appealing:
A Policy Document Approach
A Letter from Editorial Policy Boffin
N. Effin Fickes-Achin
[The Editorial Board has received many complaints about the Editor-in-Chief’s unprecedented use of the -bloody- infix in a recent editorial. Though not as many as our mother-infixin’ Linguistics of Tea issue, thank goodness. We’ve asked Dr. Fickes-Achin to address our readers’ concerns, which he may or may not have done below. —Eds.]
SpecGram is appealing.1 In fact, much like peeling a putrid banana is appalling, to that same extent is SpecGram appealing. ’Nuff said. But we’ll say a bit more anyway. ‘To whom does it appeal?’ rings out in stentorian tones the challenging bray of a yet-to-be-fully-convinced skeptic.2 We retort as you would expect us to: ‘to the masses,3 of course’. The argument so far for those who have dozed off:5 SpecGram appeals to the masses. So true.
However, at a recent Under Executive Preliminary Quarterly Pre-gathering Review of the SpecGram In-house Editorial Sub-committee for Standards, to our horror we realised that your favourite satirical linguistics journal and mine has (drum roll6) no policy on the avoidance of infixational vulgarity. Of course, we’ve had clear policies for avoiding swearing in a lexical form for bloody ages—and never damn well do it, as you know. However, with neolects proffering screechingly offensive forms such as ‘aggluti-jaspering-nation’ and ‘ortho-hofflebanging-graphically’ from all sixty-three known compass directions, that there was no policy document to prevent any writer or editor inadvertently using such a form in an article caused consternation amidships, aft and fore on the good ship SpecGram. The Jolly Roger of mass appeal would be dehoisted in a moment!
So, as a family-friendly, inclusive, all-comers welcome and appeals-to-the-masses-ic journal, we could not allow ourselves to stray, wander or even involuntarily tipple over into the use—or publication of—infixational vulgarity, swearing, potty mouthery or such. How, then, could we guarantee to our varied readership that in a discussion of polysynthesis in Norfolk English, or of palatalisation in late proto-Indo-European, a rogue ‘poly-flamin’-synthesis’ or outlier ‘palata-phroomphin’-alisation might surface—and ruin the innocence of a clean living subscriber?
An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Sub-committee was called immediately and convened rapidly only three weeks later. After cheese and wine7 were respectively consumed and imbibed, we got down to the decision making: and lo!, VAPID was born. Reader, we are proud to tell you that, with the Vulgarity Avoidance Practices for Infixation Document duly implemented, you can rest assured that, sleep secure in the knowledge that, and rest easy knowing that forms such as ‘so-stuff it all-nority’ or ‘morpho-more tea vicar-phonemics’ will never ever muddy the appealing pages of this publication again.
1 But not for money. Actually, yes: for money. Please give us some. And talent. And hope!
2 We have never received any hint of a bray from any epicureans or cynics. Although they have sometimes barked orders at us.
3 As a non-denominational journal, we appeal equally to the Eucharists and the Lord’s Suppers. And the Lord’s Dinners. Unless it’s fish fingers. Fish with fingers would be genuinely unappealing.4 We also appeal to maypole dancers and Stonehenge summer solstice ravers.
4 As would fingers of fish.
5 Which, alas, includes myself, your writer. But I’ve woken up now. Oh no, look: I’ve fallen asleep again.
6 Actually, cancel that. The SpecGram drummers were drummed out recently after a whiskey dram-inspired incident with a dreamy dromedary. Get the flautists instead.
7 Which formed a delicious round-off to the preceding four-course meal-issimo of swan crispicakes, carrot blancmange, tripe and raspberries, and gruel à la française.