At 29,000 words, Shakespeare had a vocabulary only most of us with our measly 4,000 word limit could only envy. He even had the audacity to make up his own words – from ‘bedroom’ to ‘excitement’: something this writer would like to see appear in conjunction more often – as somehow 29,000 just wouldn’t cut it at times. We have since accepted a vast majority of these words into our everyday language, although the meanings have often changed. Shakespeare was indeed a true wordsmith, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he invented that word to describe himself and his elucidatory powers too.
A comparable trend has been rearing its head for some time now among the writers of today’s celebrity bibles but whether to similar everlasting effect only time, naturally, will tell. With appeal to mass society like Shakespeare in his time enjoyed, I’m talking about Heat, Glamour, What’s on Tv etc who along with credit crunch busting ideas such as only spending £100 on that oh-so-versatile dress which will see you through right into next week take it upon themselves as leaders of the new lexicon to coin such terms as ‘totty’ ‘kecs’, the almost-cute ‘preggers’, ‘hubby’ – who actually calls their spouse this and gets away with it?, phrases such as (cringe) ‘hot-to-trot’ and endearing celebrity nicknames (substitute ‘Madge’ for Madonna, ‘Chez’ for Cheryl Crow – I know they would) which are supposed to make us think of them as elder siblings in our humble directory listed worlds instead of the A-C listers they actually are.
And of course it doesn’t stop there. Showing admirable genius and in an eco-friendly paper-saving effort, somebody had the idea of combining the names of celebrity couples to create a superhuman transgender effect in our gossip hungry minds. I’m talking of course of BRANGELINA. I quiver whilst I type the very word. Imagine the red carpet-swathed devastation this monster leaves in its wake. And it doesn’t stop at people. Coronation Street becomes of course ‘Corrie’ and, alternatively, Tesco and Asda have the unnecessary ‘s’ suffix.
I would actually pay money to see these publications tackle issues of larger cultural weight than that of Katy Perry’s latest hairband or Charlotte Church’s. Weight, I mean. How would they describe the recession? ‘Reccers’? How about swine flu? Perhaps settle for a trendy acronym (see also: WAG). SF? But perhaps people would then confuse it with science fiction. Oh, wait...
That said, if I were tomorrow to receive the phone call inviting me to work with any of the above-mentioned tedious tomes, I would switch off the Corrie, pop down to Tescos with my hubby in tow to purchase my hot-to-trot trews as inspired by the likes of our Madge and Li-Lo and swot up on my knowledge of Kerry Katona’s exercise tips and check out whose pecs are perkiest on telly’s top totty. I’d be the headline-hungry Editorial Assistant littering a trail of poor puns throughout your coffee break magazine in no time.