The American Dialect Society, an organization of linguists, academics, and other word lovers, has named #blacklivesmatter its “Word of the Year.” It is the first time in the society’s 125 year history that a hashtag has won the award (though the word hashtag was the 2012 winner). Language aficionado Ben Zimmer, who chairs the society’s committee on new words, said of their choice: ”While #blacklivesmatter may not fit the traditional definition of a word, it demonstrates how powerfully a hashtag can convey a succinct social message. . . . Language scholars are paying attention to the innovative linguistic force of hashtags, and #blacklivesmatter was certainly a forceful example of this in 2014.”
Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt will star in the film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, which chronicled the 2007 financial crisis.
Reporter James Risen will not have to testify at the trial of former CIA official, Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with leaking confidential information about US operations in Iran. Risen was first subpoenaed in 2008 and has held fast to the principle that he should not—and would not—reveal the identity of his sources.
The Times is reporting that the latest Charlie Hebdo cover, published today, “could ignite dangerous new passions.”
Believer cofounder, Penguin Press executive editor, and Bookforum contributor Ed Park has sold his second novel, Same Bed, Different Dreams, and a story collection, An Oral History of Atlantis, to Random House. Park’s first novel, Personal Days, is considered a classic of office-malaise, which generates both comedy and chaos. The new novel “is the story of Soon Sheen, a stalled-out Korean-American author employed as an ‘acronym writer’ at GLOAT, an Oz-like social media company in upstate New York,” whose life is changed after a drunken encounter with a mysterious South Korean literary celebrity known as “the scourge of Seoul.”