McDonald's is taking action to get the word "McJob" taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary. Let's be clear: the job of a dictionary is to record language as it is spoken, and people clearly say "McJob" to mean a crummy job.
McDonald's argues that jobs at McDonald's aren't crummy, so people are wrong to call crummy jobs McJobs. Let's stipulate for the sake of argument that working at McD's is great -- would it matter? Nope. When we say "McJob," we mean "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."
Now, whenever I write about trademarks, I get a bunch of emails asserting the voodoo theory of trademark: every conceivable use of a trademark has to be policed aggressively or you'll lose your trademarks forever. It's just not true. A trademark isn't the right to tell people what words they can use when they talk, and it isn't the right to tell dictionaries which words they're allowed to define. Voodoo trademarkism is a fairy tale that trademark lawyers tell their kids at night to reassure them that they'll have a healthy college fund.
From the point of view of the fast-food proletariat, the reason for the McLanguage offensive is clear: The word McJob, as the OED definition makes clear, is "depreciative." It goes on to define the term as: "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." It found its way into the dictionary in March 2001, 15 years after it was apparently coined by the Washington Post.
"Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And it this case, they got it completely wrong," Walt Riker, a Mickey D's McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. "It's a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that's been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years."
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]