Thursday, January 11, 2007

Weary and Fatigued

I am the first to admit that I am an acerbic Dane, a bundle of pet peeves and grumblings. I am one of those people who gets annoyed to watch out-of-shape lifelong bench warmers give each other the high five at football games, as if the excellent execution on the field by two superbly conditioned and disciplined athletes was somehow the accomplishment of the former. Usually, I hold these snide feelings to myself, but I think I must speak out...
Although I am a Kool-Aid free non-supporter of the current appointee to the White House, I do think it a bit much that his heretofore (love using that word) martial supporters now want to step down out of a sense of "fatigue" and "weariness".
You can be weary of a marathon only if you are running in one, you can feel fatigue from a triatholon only if you have just completed two of the three legs of the trial.
You cannot be weary of a war if you are not deeply in the horror, or if the alpha male in your life is over here repairing photo copying machines, rather than walking point in some Buddha-forsaken hill in Afghanistan. When people say they are weary of the war, they do not mean they are personally weary of having three sons gone overseas for over four years, or that they are tired of the rationing of every necessity, or that they are fatigued of not being able to fill the tank of their Packard to jaunt to anywhere they wish for their summer vacation.
In transfat America (never never spell Amerika with a K, it is an affecation), weariness and fatigue mean I don't like how this episode of 24 Baghdad is turning out! Change the channel! Iraq was sold to us as a trial TV series that jumped the shark in the third season. People want to switch the channel not because they had any personal investment from the get-go, but merely because they are bored. Get over it folks. There are no, I repeat, no action heroes out there. They do not exist.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

With All Due Respect

About three years ago, I gave up cable/dish TV. I was disenchanted with the nonsense, the false dichotomies, the poorly made melodramas, the heartless sitcoms that made up the programming schedules. Oh, I'll wait a year, and watch the DVD releases of shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, and The Badge.

At Burger King last night, I sat beneath their TV to see why I gave this up in the first place. There sat the horrible Paula Zahn whipping up a fake shouting match over Latino high scholl graduation rates. One of the panelists used a phrase that has long grated on my ears, the phrase "With all due respect". I first noticed African-American intellectuals using this phrase, which in the black community is apparently a way of telling a person that they are completely full of shit.
The phrase had moved up a notch in meaningless discourse, as now it is used before saying something completely horrible.

"With all due respect, Senator, I think you are a sodomizing necrophiliac."

People think that this phrase is a sort of "Get Out of Jail" card for violations of polite conversation. So kudos to the writers of the otherwise execrable Talladega Nights for lampooning this phrase, as Ricky Bobby uses this term before every insult.

Let's retire this phrase today.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I have always been interested in what linguists call "elevation", how insults become complements (and conversely how accolades becomes pejoratives, viz. "liberal" and "intellectual"). Notice the word nice, as in "Ohhh, she's so nice. This word was once an insult. In the Victorian Age, this word meant a person who behaved properly only as a means of fitting in, or setting up a sale; it was an affected mannerism of the fawning tradesman, as opposed to behavior practiced as an end of itself, which is the sign of a gentleman. Same thing with the word stupid. It once meant not a lack of intelligence, but a refusal to apply one's intelligence beyond that which made a worldly profit.

By the way, I'll post later on viz., as well as op. cit., cf., ibid., and the rest of the unholy host later...

Monday, January 01, 2007

What I am Reading Lately

I bought Lambs of London from Borders last Sunday...I enjoyed Ackroyd's earlier Clerkenwell Tales. I hope to run down a copy of Mad Mary Lamb by Hitchcock to accompany this work. Ackroyd has a deft ability to use sentence structure to weave a series of strong paragraphs that flow one upon the other...