On vices and vises

What is in a definition, and what if a word is ill-defined?

Have you ever told a joke that just seemed to go too far and you wonder if you should have done it in the first place?

The choice of a nickname or phrase seems like a whimsical opportunity to express the fun and comedy of language, as well as a conversation piece with the contributors and readers of What’s Up Yukon. So how does a callow (not the incorrect Chasing Amy definition) editor create an atmosphere of irreverence, fun and imagination during his tenure at the publication?

Rhetorical device: a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance) -vocabulary.com

In this case, he seeks a phrase that, like the immortal Socrates, he hopes provokes those minds to ask questions and dream beyond the simplicity of our lives. To seek stories and tales that lay bare the fabric of who we are in the Yukon. To capture that whimsical, humorous space in the magazine that former editor Ken Bolton carved from his own irreverence.

Rhetoric: the art of speaking or writing effectively

a: the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times

b: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion

Rhetorical: of, relating to, or concerned with rhetoric -Merriam-Webster.com

Such misguided fervour to pursue the artistry of words from an un-inked editor, yet to win pen or paper, left a trail of confusion. Readers quietly wondered, “how could an editor leave such an obvious typo, or misunderstanding of literary terms, in such an obvious place?” The offending term emblazoned business cards and rested obviously in the email signature.

Devise: to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : INVENT – Merriam-Webster.com

And yet, those thoughts lurk in the mind, sowing uncertainty and sparking questions, but never galvanizing a straightforward inquiry as to the term. The Canadian veneer of politeness forbids a question that may embarrass an editor, if he has unwittingly abused literary mechanics in such a hackneyed fashion. And so, as a farewell, an editor will make an overture of explanation for those polite souls, unsure if they should ask if it’s a typo or something else entirely, and share the stumbling pun that this editor attempted.

Rhetorical Devises (a rhetorical device): to form new combinations or applications of speaking or writing effectively  – Danny Macdonald, Editor – What’s Up Yukon, Sept 2017 – Jan 2020

That sentiment was the way I tried to approach this role as a caretaker for the Yukon’s cultural community, our hobbies and those stories that should be celebrated, but perhaps flew under the radar. I won’t be completely gone. Our new editor Erika has already assigned me some stories, so I will appear in the pages of What’s Up Yukon in the future. It has been a truly gratifying opportunity to share our paper with everyone. 

And thus ends the deposition of an editor.


1) out-of-court testimony made under oath and recorded by an authorized officer for later use in court

2) an act of removing from a position of authority : an act of deposing – Merriam-Webster.com

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