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Holy Court of Owls, Batman!

By Mark Peters
My name is Mark Peters, and I am a Batman-aholic. I blame Christopher Nolan. Between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, I felt an insatiable thirst for more Batman than Mr. Nolan was providing. In my desperation, I turned to a childhood addiction: comic books.

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Post-traumatic snowclone disorder

You don’t have to be an MD or a sick puppy to appreciate the enormous family of humorous medical terms, including ‘peanut butter balls’ (phenobarbitol), ‘horrendoplasty’ (an operation without a sunny forecast), or ‘duck’s disease’ (‘being short’, so-named for the non-NBA-ready stature of quackers).

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No one Tebows after Bucknering

By Mark Peters
Tebow is one of the most successful words of 2011, referring mainly to the post-touchdown pose of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow: just as people plank, they Tebow too. However, the verbing of Tebow’s name is just one example of the popular sport of eponymization. Sports fans love turning athletes into eponyms: words derived from names, like boycott and shrapnel.

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The Oxford Companion to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony

Many questioned how the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was going to make a mark after the spectacular Beijing Olympics only four years earlier. While Beijing presented the Chinese people moving as one body — dancing, marching, and presenting a united front to the world — the British answer was a chaotic and spirited ceremony, shifting from cricket matches to coordinated dance routines, Mr Bean’s comedic dream to a 100-foot Lord Voldemort.

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Up the Wazoo and Into the Abyss: Words I Love

By Mark Peters

It’s easy to find articles about words people hate. Just google for a nanominute and you’ll find rants against moist, like, whom, irregardless, retarded, synergy, and hordes of other offending lexical items. Word-hating is rampant.

So if that’s the kind of thing that yanks your lexical crank, look elsewhere: this column is all about word love, word lust, word like, word kissy-face, and word making-sweet-love-down-by-the-fire, as South Park’s Chef would put it.

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When life hands you lemon-ology

By Mark Peters

If I had a lemon for every time I heard “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” I’d have enough lemons to open a lemons-only Wal-Mart. If I had another lemon for every time I heard a variation like, “When life hands you lemons, run straight home and hide them because the apocalypse is upon us and soon everyone will want them,” I’d have an absolute monopoly on the lemon market, fulfilling my boyhood dreams.

This expression and its variations are everywhere, nowhere more so than on Twitter, the richest source of jokes

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Flummadiddle, skimble-skamble, and other arkymalarky

Tweet By Mark Peters I love bullshit. Perhaps I should clarify. It’s not pure, unadulterated bullshit I enjoy (or even the hard-to-find alternative, adulterated bullshit). I agree with the great George Carlin, who said, “It’s all bullshit, and it’s bad for ya.” Hard to argue with that. What I love is the enormous lexicon of […]

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Bad Bananas Make Great Stocking Stuffers

By Mark Peters
At some point, I think we’ve all asked ourselves, “When is the best time to start training a kitten to hold a knife?”

That question—written by Tim Siedell, a.k.a Twitter’s badbanana – is one of the expertly crafted one-liners you can find in his new book Marching Bands Are Just Homeless Orchestras: Half-empty Thoughts Vol 1. It’s the funnest/funniest book I’ve picked up in donkey’s years, and it’s also pretty and shiny and full of cool illustrations by Brian Andreas. Unless you hate puppies and America, you should give yourself and your minions this tremendous book, which offers pertinent dietary observations such as: “That Indian dinner was so authentic I think I hate Pakistan.”

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A Modest Addition to the Lexicon of Excuses

By Mark Peters
Before reading, I want you to know, just in case you hate this column, it is not my column. Not my column! These are not my words, not even the prepositions. I think my cousin wrote this—or one of his creepy pals.

Sorry, I guess I just wanted to be as cool as famous folk who use the “not my X” routine whenever the long arm of the law threatens to burst their celebububble. In a nifty blog piece, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger suggest that “not my X” has become a kind of snowclone

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The best of a decade on the OUPblog

Wednesday, 22 July 2015, marks the tenth anniversary of the OUPblog. In one decade our authors, staff, and friends have contributed over 8,000 blog posts, from articles and opinion pieces to Q&As in writing and on video, from quizzes and polls to podcasts and playlists, from infographics and slideshows to maps and timelines. Anatoly Liberman alone has written over 490 articles on etymology. Sorting through the finest writing and the most intriguing topics over the years seems a rather impossible task.

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A fetching snowclone: Stop trying to make X happen

By Mark Peters
A few weeks ago, I spotted this tweet by Braden Graeber: “Dear white guys, stop trying to make camouflage cargo shorts happen.”
Minutes later—in a moment of true synchronicity—I saw a white dude in camouflage cargo pants. Whoa.
As a fashion-challenged, oft-confused doofus, I appreciated the heads-up to two facts: 1) those shorts are an atrocity, and 2) this phrase is a snowclone that’s invaluable in mocking anything fake or contrived that annoys or pains us.

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Terriers are People Too: Dog Breeds as Metaphors

Tweet By Mark Peters My newest obsession is Terriers, an FX show created by Ted Griffin (who wrote Ocean’s Eleven) and Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield, the best TV show ever). This show has deliciously Seinfeldian dialogue, effortless and charming acting, plus plots that are unpredictable and fresh. It’s even heart-wrenching at times, and […]

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