AWADmail Issue 383
November 1, 2009
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Acrostic:
Disappearing Vowels 'Caught' On Tape In US Midwest:
From: Steve Fulton (cerberus40 hotmail.com)
Subject: (Re: Byronic) Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage in Comics
Def: Being melancholic, passionate, and melodramatic, and having disregard for societal norms.
In the notes for Byronic, you mention that Lord Byron's daughter, Ada
Lovelace, was the first computer programmer, and she wrote programs for Charles
Babbage's analytical engine. If you are interested in Lovelace and Babbage,
you should check out Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles: Dangerous Experiments in
Comics. It purports to be a steampunky
comic with Babbage and Lovelace fighting crime using Victorian science and
mathematics, but about 80% of the content is Sydney explaining the actual
history behind the stories.
From: Matthew Male (male.matt googlemail.com)
Def: Of or relating to a totalitarian state in which citizens' activities are tightly controlled.
It's been observed that if Eric Blair had decided not to use a pseudonym,
than a common way of describing a totalitarian surveillance state would be
"Blairite" -- and the previous British Prime Minister would have been forced
to change his name to get into power...
From: Robert Payne (dziga68 sbcglobal.net)
My primary understanding of the word 'Orwellian' is to describe when
benign or ameliorative language is used to obfuscate motives or effects,
particularly those relating to a government, that may be considered less
than benign; to call something potentially threatening other than what it
ostensibly is in order to make it seem less threatening.
I think that the titles of some laws enacted in recent years by Congress
have been given Orwellian names in order to befog understanding of what the
laws actually entail. The USA PATRIOT Act, which curtailed some domestic
liberties, is one such law, making it appear that if you didn't support
these infringements, you were unpatriotic.
Of course, I think that this is doubleplusungood.
From: Graham Sutton (graham.sutton hpa.org.uk)
Def: Of or relating to a dualistic view of the world.
The distinctive feature of Manicheanism is that good and evil are of
separate creation -- God is not the sole creator, as religions such as
Christianity would insist. The term is also applied to heretical sects
(eg the Cathars) that held that belief, although their line of influence
from the original Persian Manicheanism is debatable. Thus in chapter three
of "Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot: Mr Tulliver believed that "rats,
weevils, and lawyers were created by Old Harry. Unhappily he had no one to
tell him that this was rampant Manicheism . . ."
From: Michael Wiesenberg (queue shaw.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--manichean
There are two kinds of people in this world, those who believe everything
is Manichean and those who don't.
From: John DeCarli (johntdecarli gmail.com)
Def: Characterized by cunning, deception, and expediency.
Interestingly, in Italian there are at least two adjectives related to
Machiavelli: "machiavellico" (carrying the same negative undertones as the
English "Machiavellian") and "machiavelliano" (meaning simply "of or related
to the writing and thought of Machiavelli"). Having both terms is handy,
particularly when talking about the man's often misunderstood later work.
From: Bob Lee (jandrlee shaw.ca)
I don't think you are entirely fair in the description of Il Principe
(given below). Craft, yes, deceit if necessary, but pragmatic sense
always. If kindness and honesty will do the job, Machiavelli advises that
direction. His book is intensely practical, tailoring behavior to the
nature of the people you deal with. If they are crafty and deceitful,
his advice is to fight fire with fire.
The Prince, a political treatise describing the use of craft and deceit to
achieve political power.
From: Pascal Golay (pascal mcneel.com)
Subject: Draconian: Solon and his spider's web
Def: Unusually harsh.
This intrigued me,
It was Solon who said: Laws are the spider's webs which, if anything small
falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape.
and so, digging around just a little before work, I found this
which suggests that Solon was not the one who said this, but Anacharsis.
Thanks for the correction.
From: Olga Grovic (olgayaleo729 yahoo.com)
Subject: Thank you
I've enjoyed your emails for ages, encouraged my sons to read them. One
won a full scholarship to his university, the younger stands to receive
scholarships to about half a dozen -- both necessary as I've been unemployed
forever -- so, thank you!.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A language is a dialect that has an army and a navy. -Max Weinreich,
linguist and author (1894-1969)