Wordsmithing.

(Holidailies Day #7.)

A wonderful thing about a full day of activities is that sometimes it leads to a great night’s sleep.

Unless, like me, you have a very needy, but very busy, feline who has plenty of cat business to attend to in the wee hours, but always comes back to bat you in the face until they are let under the covers to sleep in your armpit.

I couldn’t even be mad. Much. Even though he really does have deafening snorpurrs.

I also got my first Christmas cards of the season yesterday, one from grown ups, which was nice, and two from my friends daughters and will be cherished slightly more. (Delighted that schools in Quebec still teach cursive.)

Who needs Hallmark when you've got Grace and Sage?

A photo posted by Megan McLeod (@blautreacle) on

The trivia things went OK. Came in second place in our group (but the group was tiny) in the first contest (which was pretty difficult this month) and, like, fourth in the other, much more difficult one.

The second was a six-part thing, divided into categories. The lowest-pointed category was dropped from the final score. In similar contests I’ve written, this is always Sports for me. Yesterday was no exception, even though I got the second-highest score (out of the seven people playing) in that category. 9/20. YEEEEAH.

International quizzing is dominated by Europeans generally, and Brits more specifically, so the sports questions are very cricket/handball/football-oriented compared to a quiz that a Canadian would compile for other Canadians (not that that would help the non-hockey-watching me). One day, I will finally learn the difference between rugby league and union, but between trivia contests, it’s hard to sit down and care long enough when one has no real interest in the topic.

But, as I said, I did manage to answer some sports questions, including one about former Premier League footballer Dwight Yorke.

I wish I could say this was because I had actually paid attention to the Premiership very carefully over the last 15 years, but I haven’t.

I mean, I did watch football regularly (the very few matches broadcast on TSN’s Soccer Saturday) and supported Newcastle United for a few years in the late 1990s, but just…stopped. Never got back into the habit.

The reason why I knew what national team Dwight Yorke played for was because he has a kid with Jordan/Katie Price.

I mentioned this during scoring and the whole room went quiet.

No one knew who Jordan was! I couldn’t believe it!

Then I remembered that thing about how I lived in the UK in 2003/4, would read any tabloid I found on a train (yes, I’m disgusting in more ways than one), and watch tons of British television. Canadian men (I was the only woman playing yesterday) have NO reason to know who the fuck Katie Price is.

Good for them.

Better for me, though, because I got the point and none of them did.

What the fuck does this have to do with the fact of the day? Who gives a shit about Dwight Yorke’s career?

Well, this incident got me thinking about tabloid culture, how the Daily Mail is the fucking most-read news website in the world even though it is abhorrent and incorrect huge swaths of the time, and wondering why people aren’t suing the hell out of gossip columnists and newspapers all the time.

I don’t have answers, but I did learn a fun thing that you can totally use at parties if you feel like dorking out:

TIL: The first libel lawsuit against a newspaper involved a man named William Cosby.

Given what’s going on with another William Cosby these days, this amused me. This Cosby was never near a Pudding Pop or date-rape drug (presumably); he was the colonial governor in 1734, when the lawsuit was filed. The New York Weekly Journal (under John Peter Zenger) printed several articles about abuses of power (replacing judges he didn’t like, increasing his salary, etc. — politics never changes, eh?) which were, well, correct, but the governor didn’t like ’em.

The suit was unsuccessful and helped set the precedent that something cannot be defamatory if it can be proven to be true.

I wonder what the present Mr. Cosby thinks of that.

How I learned this: Mad Googling of ‘first newspaper lawsuit’, ‘first tabloid lawsuit’, ‘suing newspapers history’, and similar ineffective search strings. Ultimately, I ended up reading about defamation on Wikipedia.

Learn more here.

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