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Category Archives: Language

Grammar lesson

Typing remains painful for me, but I feel I must pound my keyboard, nonetheless, in defense of the English language and its punctuation marks. I refer to the Trumper’s defense of his wiretapping lie, an example of the reporting thereon here: “I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about […]

Today’s Euphemism: the alt-right

I don’t know where the term “alt-right” originated, but it masks the reality, like so many right wing buzzwords. “Pro-life”, “ethic cleansing”, “school choice”, “job creators”, and “death tax” come to mind. When a new word is substituted for the tried and true, it hides the reality, because it is free of the associations that […]

Giuliani explains

By now, everyone who has access to the Internet knows that Rudy “9/11, 24-7” Giuliani recently said this: “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” Giuliani said. Now, looking at it logically, there are three possible reasons why Giuliani might have […]

Another lesson in linguistics

We live in a world in which the word “literally” now literally means the opposite of what it means, so it is not surprising that words are constantly misused. However, the ways in which they are misused can be instructive. The New York Times published a story this morning about the Western land issue that […]

McGraw-Hill tripped up by little known historical fact

I haven’t been doing much blogging lately, for a number of reasons, not the least being my inability to come up with any more synonyms for “crazy”. Maybe Shakespeare would be up to the task of finding fresh things to say about the clowns running for president, or Republicans in Congress generally, but I confess […]

All the euphemisms fit to print

The New York Times was never able, so far as I can recall, to refer to enhanced interrogation techniques by the more direct term torture. This was, of course, regrettable, because the word torture conveys the reality more directly and accurately than the euphemism. However, the Times’ avoidance of the T word was somewhat understandable, […]

Hillary tips her hand

Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates are vying for the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers. The fix is probably in, because the leader of the AFT is a Hillary supporter, but questions remain. Per usual, no one actually knows where Hillary stands on issues critical to teachers, such as the charter school […]

Some lexical pushback

Yesterday I bemoaned the tendency of the Left to allow the right to frame the terms of debate, including allowing them to abrogate warm and fuzzy words like “reform” and “pro-life” to describe themselves or their policies. Well, lo and behold, today in my in-box I got something from a group that isn't going to […]

Lessons from Webster’s and Humpty Dumpty

Today I stumbled upon this article in the Progressive by Connecticut's own Jonathan Pelto, detailing the way in which the proponents of public school privatization are buying political influence. Now, Jonathan is not particularly popular with some of the elected politicians I know, but despite his sometimes abrasive way of writing, I like him because […]

Step into that frame

Something there is about liberals, progressives, or whatever we want to call ourselves, that seems to compel us to allow others to frame the terms of our debate. This is a somewhat trivial example, but because it is so blatant, I have to point it out. This mostly excellent post at Naked Capitalism argues that […]