Category Archives: Words

Please have your mask on for us

“Please have your mask on for us.” That’s what they say at the Starbucks Drive-through where I get my coffee in the morning.   I really like it and I’d like to think about it a little today. [1] I … Continue reading

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Naughty and Nice

This is the kind of post I think I had in mind when I started all this in 2010.  Yesterday, the words to “Santa Claus in Comin’ to Town” came to my mind and I noticed something I had never … Continue reading

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Performative Behavior

I got this paragraph from Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnist, this morning. The Republicans behaving radically are doing so in the knowledge — or at least the strong assumption — that their behavior is performative, an act of … Continue reading

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Discontented Thoughts

Here is a passage I found in Middlemarch this week.  There is not the slightest indication that the author, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) or the character who thought them, intended these remarks to be taken in a political way, … Continue reading

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Thoughtless Lying

I come from a small town in a conservative part of Ohio.  In some ways, that has been a very good preparation for the kind of life I have lived.  In our town, we believed in “the virtues,” despite violating … Continue reading

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Bo Knows Politics?

There comes a time when, as the logic of a movement plays out, it just goes too far.  In this essay I want to say that I have reached that point myself, so far as the self-righteous political left is … Continue reading

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And forgive us our maladjustments

I had a friend once who had learned to apologize for his lateness and to minimize his error at the same time.  I was fascinated.  I had no idea you could do that.  He would say, “Hi guys.  I’m so … Continue reading

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C’est Monyafeek

This is (yet another) celebration of the way Neal Stephenson uses language and the illustration is taken (yet again) from his Anathem. You need to know a little bit about the story or you won’t be able to share the … Continue reading

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The -ize has it

Now I think that’s just fun.  It sounds wrong, of course, but it probably isn’t.  It sounds like “eyes,” which would require a plural verb, “have.”  But -ize is not a noun, like “eyes;” it is a “word-forming element” used … Continue reading

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Viral Falsehoods

The English language—no, the American language—has a “don’t fence me in” style. In the soil of the American language, any word can become invasive. I remember thinking, when I first heard the expression “a fun party,” that it had happened … Continue reading

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