November 13, 2008

To the Manner Born

Believe or not, this isn't a politically themed post but a diversion into language and the difference between reading it and hearing it.

This is a phrase uttered by Hamlet and referenced innumerable times. When taken aurally (another pun, but I digress), it could also be "To the Manor Born", a British sitcom, as well as another phrase referenced innumerable times. I wasn't the only one who mistook the latter for the former as the predominant intended meaning for quite some time, although I now always tend to think of the former rather than the latter, as my appreciation of and infatuation with Shakespeare increases with age.

Of course, were this to be a politically themed post, I might also riff further on "To the Man O'erborn," but I though better of it, mostly because I couldn't decide whether to treat with it as a Shakespean comedy or tragedy. Nontheless I wonder how the intentionalism of which Jeff Goldstein often speaks is affected, if at all, by the too easily misinterpreted meanings of homonymic words and phrases.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2008

Feckless and Ruthless

When's the last time you saw feck or ruth used in a sentence? In fact, do you know what they mean?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:13 PM | Comments (5)

November 11, 2006


Daughter #2 had a sleepover last night to celebrate her tenth birthday, Having lived through this, I propose that any gathering of six or more adolescent girls be called a cackle.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2006

Again, How Do You Parody the Absurd?

Driving home from work tonight, listening to News and Notes with Ed Gordon(sans Ed Gordon) on NPR, I heard the Rev. Jesse Jackson refer in complete seriousness to ..., wait for it ..., New Orleans-Americans.

Tha Balkanization of America is complete.

I am curious though, listening to the dueling banjoes of the viability of an election in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, what happens if New Orleans voting percentages rise with all the special efforts going on to get out the vote in New Orleans? What exactly would it be appropriate to infer from that?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:58 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2005

Cold Affront

Is there any word in our political discourse more overused than "chilling"?

The State Department is refusing to make public internal documents sought by Senate Democrats in their attempt to seek more information about repeated clashes between John R. Bolton and American intelligence agencies over Syria, administration officials say.

In rejecting the request, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the information involves "internal deliberations" and their disclosure could have a chilling effect on debates within the administration.


Posted by Charles Austin at 08:37 PM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2005


Why is Boston pronounced as though it was spelled Bosston?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Variations on a Theme

Meanwhile in Berlin... the owner again asked if I was in the party of ten. "Nein!" I said. Having already ate, I left the Seventh Heaven at six, grabbed my fifth and strode forth onto Third Street. Just for a second, an image of my first wife zeroed in on consciousness to negate a rare, fleeting moment of bliss.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2004

Careful What You Ask For

This sounds like good news:

Haitian Rebel Says His Forces Will Disarm

Unless you remember what rebels in Sierra Leone meant by disarming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2004

Could This Make Sense to You?

Too bad Immanuel canít hear Immanuel Kantís Immanuel cant.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2003

A Pack, Not a Herd

When Glenn Reynolds says "A pack, not a herd," is he verbalizing a Freudian view of the populace as Jacksonian/Republican/elephants rather than Jeffersonian/Democrat/donkeys? Even though donkeys and elephants each travel in herds, rather than packs, the homophonic relationship of pack to pachyderm can't be sheer coincidence. Can it?

While the Jacksonian and Jeffersonian traditions led to what we now know as the Democratic Party, the leadership and "activist" membership of the Democratic Party now tends to view its Jacksonian legacy with distaste. The populist primacy of honor, self-reliance, and a willingness (and ability) to defend one's self and one's property are increasingly rejected in favor of an authoritarian elitism whose values seem increasingly at odds with the championing of the individual. When people speak of not leaving the Democratic Party, but having the Democratic Party leave them -- I think this is what they mean. And when someone asked when the War on Terrorism became a Republican issue is when the term Jacksonian suddenly resonated more closely with Republicans than Democrats.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2003

The Road Map To Hell Is Paved With Bad Intentions

Again, and again:

Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian militants inside a West Bank hospital on Friday, extending a new spiral of violence that has smashed a cease-fire vital to a U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

So the cycle of violence has become the spiral of violence. Perhaps by next week, Reuters will begin calling it the double helix of violence.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2003


In BOTW yesterday, James Taranto highlighted this item:

Is There Rubber Underneath It or Something?
"Freedom Is Facing Tough Road to Hoe"--headline, Washington Post, Aug. 9

Maybe I'm the one that's missing the point, but isn't the problem here that the old saying is, "tough row to hoe?" Either that or I wasted a lot of summers as a kid hoeing rows of vegetables instead of the pavement near the vegetable garden on my grandparents' farm.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)