or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Slings and Arrows

Here's a comment by regular reader Tony Pius, which I am quoting in its entirety:

Had you simply declared Saturday a wash and held out until Sunday, you would have received this chunk of inspiration from Salon's "I Like To Watch" column (by Heather Havrilesky):

"...I'm still holding out hope for NBC's "Studio 60" (10 p.m. Mondays) (and no, I don't think that Amanda Peet's Jordan McDeere is colorful or believable enough to fit the bill of strong but complex female heroine, although she's head and shoulders above most of the other cupie dolls)."

I think she's decided that "kewpie" is an abbreviation of "cutie pie" and simply lopped off letters to make it fit. On the other hand, I haven't checked the etymology, and she might well be right.

Oh, come on now. You trust your own instincts better than that, don't you?

I did read Havrilesky's column this morning before work and did notice the spelling, and I actually decided not to comment on it: I figured, she's hugely pregnant and she has enough on her plate without looking up every possible spelling for every possible word, and god knows the copy editors at Salon--if there are any, though surely there aren't--won't do the work for her. But since you mentioned it, yeah, she screwed up.

"Kewpie" is originally a trademark, and it doesn't have anything to do with "cutie-pie", although it looks as if it ought to. It is, in fact, a baby-talk version of "Cupid". The word was devised--coined, I guess--by an illustrator named Rose O'Neill, who drew magazine illustrations of pudgy little flying babies, sort of like a very early version of the "Love Is" characters. Soon they were made into little celluloid likenesses, the famed "Kewpie Dolls".

And how long did it take me to look all this up? Three minutes, maybe. But then, I knew how to spell the word. I tell you, it's the good spellers who have the advantage when doing research, yet another reason to teach spelling more aggressively in schools.


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