Technology: It Makes Life More Convenient, Unless You're a Copy Editor
TOSC friend Mark M. writes:
Let me answer the last question first: Yes. The Other Style Council believes that technology is well on its way to solving all the world's problems, including: Our pesky inability to travel backward and forward through time, my costly knack for not returning my library books on time, and women's maddening refusal to speak to me.
Why does the L.A. Weekly cap the word "Internet"? And also, if memory serves me, "Web site" and "Web"? Do we consider technology so God-like?
But we have to leave those issues up to the cabal of God-like super scientists who secretly rule planet Earth. The Other Style Council will be content to just answer your style questions. Therefore:
Mark, there's some disagreement among the copy-editing ranks about this. "Internet," "Web" and "Web site" were capped when they first came on the scene because they were so singular, so life changing, that they seemed to demand the initial caps. I mean, the phenomenon that gave us Pets.com has to be uppercase, right?
But now that we're a decade or so out from Bob Dole inventing the Internet (yeah, everyone thinks it was Gore, but it was actually the distinguished senator from Kansas), these terms have settled right down into the lexicon so comfortably that more and more copy folks are wondering if we shouldn't lowercase them. There's a pretty valid argument to be made that "Internet" etc. aren't proper nouns. They're not copyrighted phrases, and there's only one Internet. It's not like there's different proprietary worldwide computer networks that require distinguishing proper designations.
I, though, continually want to keep capping "Internet" etc. This is largely because I'm so comfortable with those phrases being uppercase that they reside in that part of my mind that allows me to expend virtually no brain power while reading them during the editing process: I see "internet," cap it and move on.
But the Internet also hits me as something more than just a big damn collection of wires. I buy into all this hokum about the Internet being a place, a community. Like Heaven, but with pitch-by-pitch updates of Tigers games. So I say we keep it capped.
Kate, we haven't forgotten your question about "momentarily." It's just that that query is going to take some research, and I'm getting ready to go to Michigan for New Year's, and, and ...