One NRA fights for guns. One for restaurants. Yes, D.C. has abbreviation overload.

My article “One NRA fights for guns. One for restaurants. Yes, D.C. has abbreviation overload” appears in Washington Post Magazine.

Here’s the beginning:

It was the malapropism heard around certain corners of social media. When Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) asked Ben Carson recently about REOs — real estate owned properties — the housing and urban development secretary appeared to hear a reference to cookies, i.e., Oreos. While the incident quickly became a referendum on Carson’s knowledge of housing policy — he would later dismiss the episode as gotcha politics, telling ABC News, “Give me a break,” perhaps a subconscious Kit Kat allusion — it did point to a frequently overlooked hazard of life in Washington: Acronyms and other abbreviations, a second language for many wonks, can be confusing, problematic or simply embarrassing.

Just ask officials at George Mason University, who in March 2016 revealed a new name for their law school: the Antonin Scalia School of Law. The acronym ASSOL was mocked on social media, and the school was swiftly renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School. Officials with what is now called ASLS, who declined to comment, evidently weren’t concerned that the new abbreviation also refers to Advanced Stroke Life Support, audiology and speech-language sciences, the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis and the New York Library Association’s Academic and Special Libraries Section

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Selected articles

    NMAAHC "The Imitation Game: Are museums being clear enough with the public about what’s real and what’s fake?" Washington Post Magazine. March 3, 2019.

    Bobby Fischer gravestone "Searching for Fischer’s Legacy." Chess Life magazine. March 2018. (PDF file).

    Jules Olitski star "A Memorial That Knows Its Biblical History." Wall St. Journal. Sept. 22, 2017.

    CIA art collection "Infiltrating the CIA’s Secret Art Collection." Playboy. Jan./Feb. 2017.
  • Categories