Variety: Why do they write like that?

For instance:

I mean, I know they have to save space to run those big honking ads and all, but most of this slang (they even have a “slanguage” dictionary linked to their kooky “insider” terms) is just crap masquerading as jargon. You wouldn’t need a “slanguage” dictionary if you just used periods: “rep.” and “pres.” And “laffer” net? It’s the same freaking number of letters as “Comedy” for god’s sake. And do articles take up too much room? Try “The trip caused…”

Good lord. It’s like reading a zine put out by a bunch of 15-year-old hackers in leetspeak.

It’s a long tradition in Variety. From the start, they liked to use snappy jargon, and many of their coinages became a standard part of the language (e.g., show biz, blockbuster, blurb, the Coast, confab, fave, flop, hype, mogul, nix, passion pit, pinkslip, promo, sex appeal, sideman, sleeper, soap opera, toon, whodunit, etc.). It was a deliberate attempt to make people in show biz into an in-group, but it has enriched the language for nearly a century.

Don’t be so anal and enjoy watching the language evolve in front of your eyes.

I agree with Chuck. When you can write headlines like “Wall St. Lays an Egg” (for the stock market crash) and “Sticks Nix Hick Pix*” (for the failure of rural-themed movies) then I’ll give you a free hand to play with words.

But I guess I need a cite that Variety coined all of those words. I’m at least 99% sure that several of them - blurb, whodunit- have other sources, and I’m 90% sure that another half dozen do. Perhaps they popularized many, but coined?

  • I know many other variations of this headline exist, but this version came from a site and gives a July 17, 1935 date (earlier than the 1942 Yankee Doodle Dandy use) so I’m using it.

Wait a minute … Variety magazine invented the term “sex appeal”?! :eek:

It was from Variety’s website

Answered too fast. The link is

I didn’t look up to see if the terms were all actually coined by Variety, but they were clearly popularized by it.

The OED does give first cite to Variety for “fave,” “show biz,” “confab” (reviving an word that hadn’t been used in 50 years), “nix” (second cite, actually, but 30 years after the first, so they probably revived it), and “The Coast” (by inference).

In addition, “Oater” is first cited from Time, which says that’s what “the trade” refered to a western – and “the trade” was Variety. The first cite for “biopic” refers to Variety coining it, and “payola” gives Variety as first cite.