I am reading the whole Paris Review interview section, entire, from the 1950s to the present, which they have generously put up online. Right now I am reading the interview with Dorothy Parker. I wasn't familiar with the name Perle Mesta, so I looked her up.
Quoting Wikipedia: "Mesta was known as the 'hostess with the mostest [sic]'."
I guess they were worried about their knowledge of the English language.
Not "mixed tape". Where did that come from, anyway? I only started seeing it recently, but now I'm seeing it more often. Maybe someone decided that "mix tape" was ungrammatical. But "mixed tape" is just silly. It is not a tape that has been mixed. It is a tape of a mix. Everyone says "mix tape", and everyone understands what it means; the idiomatic use goes back thirty years or more, and has survived into the cd and mp3 era. It's neat and natural and useful, and should not be replaced with something awkward and nonsensical. Stomp out "mixed tape"!
I'm impatient with most online pedantry, for two reasons. First, I view most online discourse as conversation, and it's rude to interrupt conversation to correct people on the fine points of usage. Second, most online pedantry is wrong, in my goddamned opinion; people are constantly making "corrections" that are based on things they were told or read and have never themselves thought about, and many of those corrections are nothing more than prescriptivists insisting on how things ought to be versus how they are, and often enough have no firm grounding either in logic or in the history of the language.
I enjoy the mutability and diversity of the English language. I like jargon and slang, and figure that history will take care of which ones belong and which are transient, and I don't have much interest in disdaining those I don't care for, or in looking down my nose at other folks' language. I use what I like, and read what I like. I'm sorry about the loss of distinction between "imply" and "infer," or "compose" and "comprise," or "eager" and "anxious"; I strive to maintain those useful distinctions on my own writing, but I don't get exercised at people who don't. I have a few eccentricities along these lines -- I'll use "ravel" in preference to "unravel," for instance, because they mean the same thing and "ravel" is a pretty word, and I'm probably a little too eager to explain that "till" is a perfectly legitimate spelling and isn't a truncated form of "until."
And there is nothing, nothing at all, wrong with using "hopefully" to modify a clause, and hopefully you won't let anyone tell you otherwise.
However. Mangling of idiom and stock phrases bugs me, for some reason, more than the misuse or misspelling of individual words. Maybe because idiom is such an elegant development, the grace notes that give language its style, and hearing idiom misused makes my ears hurt and my nerves cringe. The big three misused phrases that bug me this minute:
If you say "This begs the question," followed by a question, you're probably misusing the phrase.
Sour Grapes means to devalue the thing you want but can't have. When you say, after not getting a job, "It probably sucked anyway," that's sour grapes.
Now, Martha, you can have one of the few things, or you can have the only thing, but you can't have one of the only things. What would be the other of your only things?
I see this one a lot, and I'm convinced it's yet another one of those bits of "usage" that folks read and don't consider for themselves.
Besides the fact that much idiom isn't literal -- see footnote -- there is nothing literally the matter with "one of the only." For example, is there anything wrong with saying, "The only people who came to the party were Marge, Homer, and Barney"? How else would you compactly say it? Could you not then by extension say "Marge was one of the only people to come to the party"?
Anyway, the implied meaning is different than saying "one of the few." If you don't hear that, I'm not sure how to explain it. "One of the only" more emphatically emphasizes the lack of people; "one of the few" says less about whether "few" is an abnormal state especially worthy of comment.
(Footnote: Have you noticed that people mock the meaningless of new idiom while mindlessly repeating the literally absurd idiom they grew up with? My favorite example, these days, is the folks who sneer at "it's all good." "It is not all good," they say. Well sure, but is it all right?)