In 1948, the American journalist and language chronicler H.L. Mencken wrote an essay for The New Yorker
, "Video Verbiage," in which he analyzed the lingo of the fledgling medium of television. Several of the words he gathered are now obsolete: vaudeo
("televised vaudeville"), televiewers
(now just "viewers"), blizzard head
(an actress so blonde that the lighting has to be toned down). Others are with us still, including telegenic
Nearly 70 years after Mencken published his essay, television itself is undergoing a massive redefinition, and so is our TV lexicon.