Tag Archives: society

A Lash of Good Tongue

“To sit fast badly is better than to be thrown easily.” (Wright, A Grammar of the Arabic Language, p. 124) [sū’(u)-l-istimāk(i) ẖair(un) min ḥusn(i)-ṣ-ṣirƸaẗ(i)] Wright cites the phrase to illustrate the formation of the [ism(u)-n-nūƸ(i)], noun of kind, aka nomina … Continue reading

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Crisis Antidote: Neighborhood Bookshops

The small shops are sprouting where their readers are, in residential areas, keeping alive the rich literary scene that made Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, one of the cities with the most bookstores per capita in the world. “Argentina may always … Continue reading

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A Modest Proposal Regarding Neutral Reference

They is owning he and she. Example: An athlete knows that they must train rigorously to qualify for the Olympics. It even happens when the antecedent is named and sexed. Example: Jacob has a Master of Fine Arts from Iowa. … Continue reading

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What ‘Self’ Goes With Royal ‘We’ and Singular ‘They’?

I take it on report that an English monarch is entitled to declare self-referentially, We are not amused. I amuse myself speculating whether the Queen would say We amuse ourself or We amuse ourselves at whist. In a different context, … Continue reading

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‘Carmen Mola’ Is Three Men

¡Me cachis en diez! Nadie está en su sitio. “Hell and damn! No one is in his place”; that was my father-in-law’s take on the hanky panky of a popular soap opera in late-Franco Spain. In post-Franco Spain what’s to … Continue reading

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‘No path to heaven / except through this dirt’

My title is from the poem by Philip Metres, “Never Describe the Sky as Azure,” in Poetry, September 2021. A Reservation Over the Fist Resisting the repressive Texas governocracy is of the essence. Are fisting poses ginned up for camera … Continue reading

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‘Inclusive Writing’

The French controversy over “inclusive writing” has surfaced.* Cole Stangler, “France Is Becoming More Like America. It’s Terrible,” NYTimes, 6-2-21.Annabelle Timsit, “The Push to Make French Gender-Neutral,” http://www.theatlantic.com, 11-24-17. Here are examples that have been cited: les musicien·ne·s (the musicians)les … Continue reading

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Adoration of the Cat

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A hoary plot line of melodrama reduces the hero and heroine to dire straits; they’ve tried everything in their power to escape doom; the soundtrack crescendos in a minor key. “Pray,” he says. “It’s in God’s hands. Only a miracle … Continue reading

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E Pluribus Nihil

Archaeologists of the far future sifting through America’s plastic ashes will peg the collapse of its civilization to two insidious language events: (1) When America dissolved “talking about problems” into “having conversations around issues.” (2) When America demoted “national” security … Continue reading

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The Rock Pile

Dwight Garner’s review of a new biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings* evokes a foible-wracked genius: It’s a pleasure to meet this cursing, hard-drinking, brilliant, self-destructive, car-wrecking, fun-loving, chain-smoking, alligator-hunting, moonshine-making, food-obsessed woman again on the page. The passage that hits … Continue reading

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