Irritable noun syndrome

Long ago and far away, people who possessed a valuable skill were called artisans. They formed craft guilds that set standards. We owe French bread and English furniture to their traditions. However, the term has gained a new meaning in American English, one that should serve as a cue to hide your cash, put away your checkbook and forget where you put the credit cards. It does not mean that the vendor using it has emerged from a long apprenticeship to become a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. It means that he or she is a pretentious boob. If it’s a cheese they’re selling, read Drop Out Who Bought a Few Goats. If it’s a restaurant name, read Chef Does Coke. If it’s a garden design service, read Socialite Service Charging $50 an Hour to Deadhead Lavender and Paying the Labor a Fraction of That.

The one thing that “artisan”

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