"Celebrity" -- defined by the former librarian of Congress Dan Boorstin as "well known for being well known" -- is a noun that is worn out from overuse. \n"Personage" and "notable" are long passe, "high muck-a-muck" has reverted to the Chinook jargon, "kingpin" is reserved for drug dealers and "dignitary" elicits a crass hoot. "Personality" is limited to TV and "luminary" to the art world. "VIP" is now mainly an adjective modifying "treatment" or "suite." "Bigfoot" is for overbearing media stars, while some pundits answer to "panjandrum of the opinion mafia," a phrase coined by the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. \nWhat became of the "glitterati," the beautiful people of yesteryachts? \nThey have transmogrified into boldface names, a phrase based on the vestigial vocabulary of early journalism that was first applied to awestruck press coverage of the world of fashion. I cannot find the phrase in any dictionary. \nBold-faced, with a hyphen and ending in the adjectival "ed," was coined by Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part I, when Lord Talbot, rescuing his son on a French battlefield, spoke of his "proud desire of bold-faced Victorie." It was picked up in the 19th century by typesetters to describe a type -- like Clarendon, Antique or a thick version of Bodoni -- that stood out confidently, even impudently, from the page. The adjective was used in an 1880 article in The New-York Times (it was hyphenated then): "One of the handbills" distributed by the Ku Klux Klan, noted a disapproving reporter, was "printed in bold-faced type on yellow paper." \nNewspaper gossip columnists in the 1930s, to catch the reader's eye, began using this bold type for the names that made news in what was then called "cafe society" (in contrast to "high" society, whose members claimed to prefer to stay out of those columns.) \nIn our time, the typeface metaphor was applied to a set of famous human faces. A fashion reporter -- John Duka of The New York Times -- was an early user of the phrase, as he wrote acerbically on Sept. 22, 1981: "At the overheated parties at Calvin Klein's apartment, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Studio 54, the boldfaced names said the week had been so crammed that they were feeling `a little sotto, you know.'" \nRita Kempley of The Washington Post noted in 1987 the sought-after status of "a boldfaced name in People magazine;" by 1999, Alan Peppard of The Dallas Morning News recalled to Texas Monthly that he began with a "social column," but "now we live in an age of celebrity, and there are very few people who care about what the debutantes are doing. So I call it celebrity, society, famous people, rich people, boldfaced names." \nThe New York Times, which never had, does not have and is grimly determined never to have a "gossip column," introduced a "people column" in 2001. (When its current editor, Joyce Wadler, took a six-week break recently, she subheaded that item with a self-mocking "Air Kiss! Smooch! Ciao!") The column covers the doings of celebrities, media biggies, fashion plates, show-biz stars, haut-monde notables, perennial personages and others famous for their fame. Its confident, with-it moniker became the driving force behind the recent popularization of the phrase with the former compound adjective, now an attributive noun: Boldface Names. \nIt's a drag \n"I was reading The Man Who Would Be Queen," writes Patricia Dorfman of Queens, New York, about a book by Michael Bailey subtitled The Science of Gender-Bending. (The title is a play on Rudyard Kipling's story The Man Who Would Be King, and the subtitle is a pun on "fender bender," a minor bump on your car that costs a bundle to fix. The name of the borough in which Dorfman lives is not a play on anything.) \n"I realized I didn't know the origin of the expression 'drag queen,'" she continues, "and I don't have the slightest idea why a drag race is called that. I am from the South, so I understand the use of `she's draggin',' meaning `tired,' or `it's a drag,' referring to weight, I assume. I guess I could look it up." \nWhy bother, when I'm right here at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the query is about one of the most multi-meaninged words in the slanguage? \n"We shall come in drag, which means men wearing women's costumes," is an OED citation dated 1870 from an English newspaper. Three years later, the fourth edition of J.C. Hotten's slang dictionary included "drag," noting that "a recent impersonation case led to the publication of the word in that sense." In 1909, the philologist J. Redding Ware provided a Victorian-era etymon: "Petticoat or skirt used by actors when playing female parts. Derived from the drag of the dress, as distinct from the nondragginess of the trouser." The slanguist Eric Partridge reported that earlier, around 1850, the usage "to flash the drag" meant "to wear women's clothes for immoral purposes (in drag, thus dressed)." \nThe verb "to drag" comes from the Old Norse "dragga" and Middle English "drawen," "to draw," specifically "to haul with difficulty." The word became a noun when applied to a horse-drawn wagon, leading to a 1785 definition in Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: "go on the drag, to follow a cart or wagon in order to rob it." \nIt followed that a street on which many drags rolled became known as a drag, and in 1851 a man was jailed for a month for "griddling in the main drag (singing in the high street)."
Liberal democracy and communist autocracy are at the initial stages of a historic battle. Taipei has chosen its side in this fight and has sought to frame “cross-strait relations” as an international issue, while Beijing says that Taiwan is an “internal issue” and a hangover from the Chinese Civil War. Taiwan’s status as a nation has new clarity and the international community is beginning to defend Taiwan’s democracy. The Washington Post has praised Taiwan’s diplomatic achievements and Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has said that it would be inconceivable for Australia not to join Taiwan and the US in a conflict with
At a time when China continues its assertive policy toward its neighboring countries, the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bhutan last month to resolve a longstanding border dispute. However, this is not the first time China and Bhutan have taken such efforts on this issue. Over the years, China has expanded its claim over territory in Bhutan. China claims over 764km2 of Bhutan’s territory, which includes Doklam, Sinchulung, Dramana and Shakhatoe in the northwestern region and the Pasamlung and Jakarlung Valleys in the central part of Bhutan. Although the two sides held
The world community has just seen an election victory with more than 90 percent of the vote under a dictatorial regime, but Dolqun Isa’s large election win was for a good reason. The World Uyghur Congress’ (WUC) 7th General Assembly was held in Prague, Czech Republic, from Nov. 12 to Nov. 14. The WUC was formed in exile to re-establish the independent state in East Turkestan — officially called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by China. At that meeting, Isa was re-elected to the presidency. He was the only candidate, and before the vote, another well-known Uighur advocate, Abduwali Ayup, said: “Are we living
In the early hours of Sunday, a convenience store clerk in Taoyuan was killed after reportedly asking a man to wear a mask. Although the suspect, a 41-year-old paper sculptor surnamed Chiang (蔣), initially complied, he was clearly incensed at the request as he took the mask off after paying and threw it at the 7-Eleven clerk, surnamed Tsai (蔡), police said. What might have ended there escalated to deadly proportions when Chiang returned to the store with a concealed knife, media reports said. He called on Tsai, 30, to step out and meet him, before allegedly proceeding to stab him repeatedly,