Louis Menand, Tosser Extraordinaire

The Brits aren’t taking The New Yorker’s bitch-slap of Eats, Shoots & Leaves lying down. After the magazine’s withering diss of the book, last week, The Guardian launched a counteroffensive with an article that basically calls the critic, Louis Menand, a big grammatical sissy. The piece takes umbrage with Menand’s characterization of Britains grammatical laxness, calling the attack “deeply xenophobic.” Even more upsetting was how Menand didn’t understand Lynn Truss’s humor and, therefore, the ultimate point of the book, “which is not a style guide but an entertaining ‘call to arms.'”

Riiiiight. Who would mistake a book with a subtitle like “The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” as a grammatical style guide? The most entertaining retort came from the book’s editor, Andrew Franklin. You may recall, if you read the New Yorker piece, one of Menand’s snarkier comments: “Either Truss needed a copy editor or her copy editor needed a copy editor.” Franklin’s response? “I think he’s a tosser. You’re welcome to use that … I’d never want to spend an evening in his company.”

What, pray tell, is a “tosser”? I had to look this one up on Wordnet.

tosser (n.)
jerk-off, wanker, onanist — (terms of abuse for a masturbator)

How great is that? Say what you will about the Brits, Mr. Menand, but you can’t deny the potency of their comeback lexicon.

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