or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lessen Plan

Yesterday I was grousing about something on the pop-culture-review website Pajiba, and now there's something else, and I'm not picking on them, I just happened to be reading. They should be happy that someone is paying close attention.

Here's a paragraph from a piece about the way Hollywood studios release tiny scraps of information about upcoming but usually long-distant movies as a way of keeping fans in a perpetual state of eagerness:

Iron Man 2, for instance, won’t be released until next summer, but it seems like a new image is released every other day. And they rarely provide much insight into the movie at all. Likewise, information about the best kept secret in the world, Avatar (the fanboys’ Twilight), has been petering out for a couple of months, too. But because that movie is being kept under wraps, we get crap like concept art or stills of action figures or lame movie posters.

Somehow, the author (Dustin Rowles, the publisher, again) thinks that "peter out" means "dribble out" or "be dispensed in small and gradual amounts". But it doesn't, and it never has. "Peter out" has a very specific and well-defined meaning: "to gradually dwindle away to nothing." I'm very surprised that anyone would not know this, or would use the term incorrectly, but once again, for approximately the hundred and sixty thousandth time, I am forced to say that this is what editors are for, and to add that any website that has a publisher ought to have an editor of some stripe too.

I could tell you about the derivation of the expression "to peter out", but World Wide Words has already done so, and better than I could.


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