Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Twenty Years Ago

1-23-87 . . . The high temperature has been rising steadily for a week. Since Saturday, the temperatures have been 40, 48, 52, 53, 56, 67, and 72 [degrees Fahrenheit]. Today was gorgeous. I spent part of the morning talking and arguing with Chuck Denk and Ken Burke. We ate breakfast at the Student Union [Building] and then walked to the Old Main fountain, where I was officially holding office hours. Nobody came to see me. But the conversation was great. I especially liked the discussion of language. First we asked whether there are any conversational presumptions, and concluded that there are at least three: presumptions of literality, truth, and sincerity. That is, when entering a speech situation, one assumes that the others are sincere (they believe what they say), are uttering truths, and are speaking literally (not metaphorically, for example). Then we asked why there should be such linguistic presumptions, and finally we asked whether there is survival value to speaking literally, truthfully, and sincerely most of the time. Chuck and Ken seemed as interested in these issues as I am, so it made for a lively debate.

There was a public suicide yesterday in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania state treasurer, who was recently convicted of a criminal offense, called a press conference. Reporters thought that he was going to announce his resignation, but during the conference the treasurer pulled a .357 magnum revolver out of a manila envelope, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Horrified reporters were powerless to stop him. It was completely unexpected. Today The Arizona Republic ran three pictures of the suicide on its front page. The first showed the treasurer waving reporters off, the second the treasurer with the gun in his mouth, and the third shortly after he pulled the trigger. It must have been a gruesome spectacle. On television, I saw the incident right up until the moment he put the gun in his mouth; then the video stopped and the audio continued. One can hear a gunshot and horrified screams. In Pittsburgh, the entire incident was shown on television. I’m sure that this will raise new questions about journalistic ethics. Does a report of a sensational incident constitute “sensationalism”? If so, is there anything wrong with sensationalism?

Rabbit v. Snake

Rabbits are so not wimpy. See here.

The State of the (Dis)Union

In one hour, President Bush delivers his seventh State-of-the-Union address. I can’t wait. I love watching the reactions of various senators, representatives, and Supreme Court justices to what the president says. There will be many shots of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Kerry, for example, since all three are expected to run for president in 2008. Hillary will have to appear suitably hostile if she is to endear herself to the moonbats. She must scowl, smirk, and stare disdainfully at the president. At no point may she show any warmth or levity, for that would signify that she’s not angry. Those who are angry and hateful insist that those who represent them be just as angry and hateful as they are, if not more so. The same thing happens in sport. If a coach or player doesn’t appear to be devastated by a loss, fans of that coach’s or player’s team are livid. “How can he take that loss so stoically?” the fans howl in outrage. They want to see frustration. They want to see fury. They want to see indignation. Right now, the hateful Left wants to see hatefulness in those who would carry their torch. I’ll comment on the speech later this evening as an addendum to this post. Feel free to post your own comments. I’m curious as to what you see as the strong and weak points of the speech. You may also comment on such things as style, composure, body language, and audience reaction.

From the Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed.

shit, shite, v.

1. intr. To void excrement.

2. trans. To void as excrement. lit. and fig.

3. a. To defile with excrement. Esp. in phr. to shit oneself:  (a) to defile oneself with excrement; (b) fig., to be afraid.

b. In slang phrases to shit (someone): to tease or attempt to deceive; to shit a brick: (see quot. 1961); also as int.

4. Comb.: shit-abed, (a) a term of abuse; (b) dial. a name for the dandelion (E.D.D.); shit-breech, an epithet of abuse applied to a person, also attrib.; hence shit-breeched adj.; shit-fire, a contemptuous epithet applied to a hot-tempered person; shite-rags, -sticks (see quot. 1659); shit-sack, an opprobrious name applied to nonconformists (see shick-shack).

Hence shitting, shiting vbl. n. (also attrib.) and ppl. a.; shitter, shiter, (a) one who, or that which, shits; (b) a privy; a lavatory pan.

Note from KBJ: I posted this because I got to wondering today how to inflect the verb “to shit.” “Swim,” for example, is inflected swim/swam/swum, i.e., I swim, I swam, I have swum. “Dive” is inflected dive/dived/dived. Is it shit/shat/shot? How about shit/shitted/shitted? It’s no use looking in a dictionary. We’re on our own for this one.

Best of the Web Today


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Clinton Enters ’08 Field, Fueling Race for Money” (front page, Jan. 21):

Now that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has finally announced, one week after Senator Barack Obama, the presidential primaries bode to be more fun and more interesting than the general election to come.

The possibility of Mrs. Clinton, who could become the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party, squaring off against a charismatic and popular African-American seeking to become the first black president—in a field broad enough to include a variety of socially sensitive icons with urgent messages of their own (John Edwards on poverty, plus Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Christopher J. Dodd, among others)—offers the promise of a contest of ideas that will be exciting, edifying and instructive, raising the electoral process to new heights of democratic vitality.

Meyer Rangell
Lake Worth, Fla., Jan. 21, 2007

Note from KBJ: Snow White and the seven dwarfs.

Dissecting Leftism

Dr John J. Ray has some good posts up. Take a look.

A Year Ago


Regarding the Last Frontier of Bigotry

See here.