Monday, April 10, 2006

'information stylist' has a nice ring to it

According to Dan Neil in the LA Times, Richard Lanham's The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information breathes new life into the choice to be an English major:

The English major presents for his or her parents a lexical quandary: What to call the graduate? My son the geologist, my daughter the physicist—these ring familiarly. But there is, ironically enough, no word in English for the English major. Our son the . . . um . . . who speaks English...

And so I was cheered (note the archaic usage, so typical of an English major) recently when I found Richard A. Lanham's "The Economics of Attention" amid a forlorn pile of books (personification—again, so typical) rejected by the book review editor. "The central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style," read the cover blurb. "In such a world, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced."