Justice matters

It’s sad and dangerous how easy it is (for everyone) to misunderstand a slogan and react defensively. When a belief is condensed to a few words, it necessarily assumes a whole set of contexts, contexts a reader of that slogan may misunderstand. There are examples of brilliant writing where tremendous nuance has been conveyed in only three words; they are exceedingly rare.

You're just wrong just isn't right

I’ve just read the thoughtful opinion piece No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong by Jef Rouner at the Houston Press. I don’t find much to disagree with in the text of the article, but there is a subtext I find troubling. While Mr Rouner and I are in agreement that asserting something as one’s own opinion should not used as a shield against logic or facts, I’m troubled by the implication that anyone has a monopoly on the truth.

Gulosity

Greed, gluttony. Chambers says it’s archaic.

Another word found in Go Set a Watchman. It usually says good things about a novel when I have to look up multiple words in one sitting. Not always; sometimes it seems like the obscure words don’t add value. I have mixed feelings about the use of gulosity here. If I were asked to edit this I might not insist it get replaced but I’d want to have a conversation about why it was important. Perhaps it’s archaic, but remained in use in the South for some time? Or perhaps there is a nuance of usage I’m missing.

Now I really wish I still had my OED.

Anthropophagous

Literally, cannibalistic. «Cannibalize» might mean to take mechanical parts from a device in order to repair others, the way that «scavenge» describes the use of backpressure to reclaim unspent fuel in a four-stroke internal combustion motor. Anthropophagous, anthropophagy, anthropophaginian, anthropophagite, and anthropophagi all seem only used to describe humans eating the flesh of other humans.

Found in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. I don’t want to go in to the context here, but I was almost sorry I looked this one up.

I just failed civics

In a recent Facebook conversation I bemoaned the fact that most United States residents cannot name even one of their State’s senators, and less than a third can name two.1 That got me thinking about whether my own knowledge of our political landscape is any good. So I gave myself a simple test: to write a list of all fifty states, and identify the junior and senior senators from as many states as I could.

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