Because iconoclasts have refrigerators
Or, how we got stuck on the idea of
magnetic icons. Then there’s the one that got away.
Having successfully filled a once-glaring
lacuna in the cultural life of the University—the lack of
a how-many-Chicago-students-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb joke
(see “And the
winning punchline is…,” February/02)—the University
of Chicago Magazine staff recently felt drawn to tackle another
equally pressing project: creating a set of University of Chicago–themed
magnets, handy household icons for a community of iconoclasts.
|Three icons with sticking power.
Right away we ran into problems. Our first-choice
icon had been a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want a one-inch,
full-color, resin-domed replica of the Nobel Prize medal to stick
on his or her refrigerator door? And what could be more Chicago
than a Nobel Prize, especially in physics or economics?
Unfortunately the Nobel e-Museum Web site’s
Frequently Asked Questions list had anticipated our noble dream:
“Q. I would like to request permission to use the
Nobel Medals and Nobel Insignias. A. The Nobel Foundation
is most restrictive regarding use of the Nobel Medals and Nobel
In other words, no go. Like scholars around the
world, you'll have to earn your medal the old-fashioned way.
So we stuck with some images that are Chicago
born and bred: a Cobb Gate gargoyle, the Maroon “C”
(shared by those other Monsters of the Midway, the Chicago Bears),
and the University’s phoenix seal.
As they say on cable TV, these finely crafted
items, in their own see-through plastic presentation case, “are
not available in any store.” Instead the Magazine
is offering the magnetic trio as a thank-you to readers who contribute
$35 to help underwrite the Magazine’s annual production
costs. We’ll happily accept larger gifts, of course; checks
should be made payable to the University of Chicago Magazine,
or you can make a contribution online (https://alumniservices.uchicago.edu/Giving/).
Why there will always be
There’s nothing more humbling than making stylistic errors
in an article about a stylebook. Believe me, I know. “I enjoyed
‘The CMS Syndrome’
(August/03),” writes Sonja Velins, MLA’97. “I
do proofreading in my employ and will purchase the 15th edition
of The Chicago Manual of Style. However, I thought it ironic
that possibly the second from the last sentence of the article is
incorrectly punctuated. Would M.R.Y. agree there is no verb in this
sentence, and that it is basically a greatly modified noun? [M.R.Y.
would.—Ed.] I would have recommended a colon after
the word ‘friend’ in the previous sentence, followed
by the incomplete sentence in question.”
And Allen Zeyher, AB’90, writes, “[A]s
an editor I have to point out what I think is a weakness of the
Chicago Manual of Style. Mary Ruth Yoe wrote that the Manual
‘ranked No. 25 on Amazon.com’s sales chart (compared
to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at No. 1).’
Several other style guides—including the AP Stylebook
and Word Court by Barbara Wallraff—recommend that
‘compared to’ should be used when asserting a similarity.
They recommend using ‘compared with’ to juxtapose two
things primarily to show a distinction. I think this is useful advice,
but I can’t find it anywhere in my 14th edition of the Chicago
Manual. I don’t (yet) have the 15th edition.”
We also pushed another Zeyher button: “Something
that I find downright annoying is the popular overuse of ‘from…to’
phrases. I can understand how to get from A to Z. I can understand
how to get from red to blue in the electromagnetic spectrum. But
how do you get ‘from small-screen heroes to miniboat racers,
from charity workers to circus performers’ (p. 50 of the August/03
issue)? The AP Guide to News Writing advises,
‘This construction denotes a logical progression, as from
A to Z or from girlhood to womanhood, or from stock room to board
room, or from soup to nuts.’ I can’t explain the ‘logical
progression’ from soup to nuts, but in general I think they
have a good point—a good point I can’t find in my 14th
edition of the Manual.”
Thus prompted, I tried the 15th edition’s
online index. I didn’t find a “compare to/with”
distinction, but I did see “compare with” used in other
CMS rulings as Zeyher recommends. Mea culpa.—M.R.Y.