Sunday, October 17, 2010


Truthiness: Ben Zimmer on Five Years of Truthiness:

For many ... observers, ... there is something undeniably appealing about how truthiness signifies ersatz truth, so much so that the neologism has spawned numerous imitators ending in -iness — what the Stanford linguist Arnold Zwicky has called “the Colbert suffix.” In 2007, Meghan Daum of The Los Angeles Times used “fame-iness” to refer to Paris Hilton-style celebrity, while Ben Goldacre of The Guardian mocked an author’s superficial footnotes as providing “an air of ‘referenciness.’ ” The latest in the “X-iness” parade is the title of Charles Seife’s new book, “Proofiness,” defined by Seife as “the art of using bogus mathematical arguments to prove something that you know in your heart is true — even when it’s not.” Seife, an associate professor of journalism at New York University, told me that the title is very much a homage to Colbert. He credits his wife with recognizing during the writing of the book that his topic was “the mathematical analogue of truthiness.”

Stretching it a bit, here's Scienciness: This is a news website article about a scientific paper:

In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of "scare quotes" to ensure that it's clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever. [And other such paragraphs that reveal the anatomy of "news website articles about a scientific paper"]

I know I'm in dangerous territory; but, having come this far, I might as well link (once again) to the classics in Newsiness, (incendiary) Blogginess, essentialist or pure Blogginess, and Storiness.