A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#54 (Dec. 2, 2011): No Lack of Affect

In this issue we effectively differentiate "effect" and "affect," offer a high-flying musical gift suggestion, and ease global tensions with Not Our Clients. And we wish you and yours a safe, warm and prosperous holiday season. See you in 2012.

Flash Card: The Elephant Effect

ImageOh, "effect" and "affect" — why can't one of you be a noun and the other a verb? That would make life so much easier. But no, you are each a noun AND a verb and thus the inspiration for much head-scratching.

For what it's worth, however, the average Jane will generally be called upon to use "effect" as a noun and "affect" as a verb.

A special effect is a noun. The effect that stems from the cause is a noun. Waiting for the drug to take effect — "effect" is a noun there, too. As Grammar Girl points out: "Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but to me the meaning 'a result' seems to be at the core of all the definitions."

The most common use of "affect" is as a verb meaning "to influence" (or, dare I say, "to have an effect"). The weather affects my mood. The number of eggs affects the chewiness of the pancakes. The cone on his head affects the dog's ability to lick his wound.

Read the rest here.

Round and Shiny: On, Blitzen

ImageI heard a lot of strong records in 2011, but I'd be hard-pressed to make a "best-of" list. That's because even the most admirable releases couldn't pry me away from my classic-rock playlists for long.

I'm tempted to attribute this to the waning of the pleasure principle in pop music — an inability or refusal on the part of most artists to find that perfect mix of sweet melody and bracing energy — but maybe it's just the graying of my own taste. In any case, how many of this year's records have compelled me to play them over and over? Exactly one: Blitzen Trapper's American Goldwing.

Read the rest here.


Not Our Clients: The Country, Not the Bird, Edition

We get it, online media: To contend with 24/7 deadlines, narrowly focused readers and content-specific searches, you need bots to help you "aggregate" stories into appropriate categories. Here's the problem: Sometimes the same word can denote, say, a mainstay of holiday cuisine AND a nation on high military alert. A human editor can instantly distinguish the two, but a machine that sorts by keywords? Not so much.

Dear NPR.org: Turkey is also a country.
(We give thanks to Joanna Rubiner for serving up this pitiful platterful.)

Not that we don't enjoy the thought of a Thanksgiving gobbler raining Godzilla-like terror on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And if that image doesn't sate your appetite for destruction, feel free to feast on the flightless wonders at Not Our Clients.

Have you spotted a textual turkey? Stuff it into an e-mail and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it If we include it in our monthly menu of misery, we'll send you an Amazon.com gift card, redeemable for such consumer goods as basters, brining bags and biographies of Kemal Atatürk.


Editorial Emergency puts words in your mouth.
Assuming you're a marketer, creative, lifestyler, publicist, artist and/or do-gooder
who wants to connect with and persuade consumers.
We've worked for these kinds of clients on this kind of stuff.

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