Tag Archives: language

The Dark Greys of Her Eyebrow

Former PM David Cameron asked the Queen for “just a raising of the eyebrow even… a quarter of an inch” to convey opposition to Scottish independence in 2014. “I’ve already said perhaps a little bit too much,” he conceded recently. … Continue reading

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Ways of Looking

Benjamin Moser has published “Sontag,” a biography of Susan Sontag. This favorable review of it left me mulling the following remark: “Biography is a metaphor,” Moser said. “It’s not the person’s life; it’s writing about a person’s life. Just like … Continue reading

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American Dream Nicked

Someone recently stole a solid gold toilet from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the family home of Winston Churchill. Its Italian creator named it “America.” The toilet was functional. Its theft “caused significant damage and flooding.” Dominic Hare, the chief … Continue reading

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Possum Mechanics

Max Planck invented the term “quantum,” writes Deepak Chopra, a professor of family medicine and public health, in a letter to the NYTimes. He quotes a 1931 interview with The Observer of London in which Planck said, “I regard matter as … Continue reading

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When Is Kill Not “Over”?

The illustration made me read this essay by Michelle Goldberg (“Margaret Atwood’s Dystopia, and Ours,” NYTimes, 9-14-19). On first glance, the picture’s Dairy Queen Blizzard ™ of cartoon imagery made me grumpy. Whatever it purports to symbolize, I thought, this … Continue reading

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Sashaying Words

As a linguist I collect jargon from exotic domains such as counterpoint, quantum mechanics, cricket — and now, children’s drag. The topic has surfaced in a current article by Alice Hines: “Sashaying Their Way Through Youth,” NYTimes, 9-8-19. I’m currently … Continue reading

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Nearly Inexplicable Love

I used to think that her Professional Texan act was just that, but I see now that it was also a way to show that we Texans were all in it together, and that the things that united us — … Continue reading

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