As a thoroughly modern online newspaper that has generally accepted the evolution of the meaning of words in our fast-changing world, this column presents The Bug with a real dilemma.
Are we really pointing out the mistakes of others this time round, or are we old fogies at Australia’s No 1 online family newspaper the ones red-faced and left-behind when it comes to word usage?
Here’s the problem. The Bug is run by old, washed-up, hack journos who still believe that there are four major tennis tournaments in the world each year – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
If a player wins all four “majors” in the same year, they are said to have achieved the grand slam. It’s why the four tournaments are also called grand-slam events; in the event that you win all four, you’ve won the grand slam! Simples, right?
But apparently not so. The lass on Channel 9’s 6pm news last night, reporting on Margaret Court’s appearance at the Aussie Open, talked of her “64 grand slams and 24 singles victories” that have kept Court as the most prolific winner of major titles, male or female, of all time.
Court was at the national tennis centre (pictured at top) to be honoured for her 1970 grand slam, just as Rod Laver was honoured last year for his 1969 achievement.
We throwbacks at The Bug threw back our heads and laughed at the “64 grand slams” line. We reckon Margaret, dear old god-botherer that she is, is not nearly old enough to have won 64 grand slams. She’s got another 14 years to go!
But the reporter could well be right. Her segment included footage of motor-mouth John McEnroe, serving it up big time to the Aussie legend for her religious views, talking about how he won “seven grand slams”.
And on ABC News Breakfast this morning, Paul Kennedy, taking a break from showing political scribes how it should be done, talked about Court’s “four grand slams” 50 years ago. We prickly old-fashionistas at The Bug still reckon it is only one. Sure, one more than anyone at The Bug ever achieved but just the one, nevertheless.
So, is The Bug out of time, out of place and out of good tennis practice? Has our argument found the bottom of the net? Have we be called for a fact fault?
Is it now entirely acceptable to remove the qualifier “event” after the words “grand slam”?
The Bug still reckons that no-one who has wandered down to the Australian Open this past week has told friends: “I’m really looking forward to attending the grand slam!”
So the big question remains: are we dinosaurs at The Bug etymologically extinct?
We also hated the death of the qualifier “examination” at the end of “post mortem” so are we at double fault here?
So step up and give us a serve … or be our doubles partner.
Ace us with your views.