Re: May the circle be unbroken.

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God has indeed blessed you.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:44 AM
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So, to go OT right away, is there a word for a happy event that makes your life more complicated? Or, a nice gift that you can't just reach out and take? Good news that makes you stressed?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:01 AM
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is there a word for a happy event that makes your life more complicated

Yes, marriage.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:03 AM
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I was thinking "pregnancy" but you're right -- "marriage" is more general and doesn't carry any connotations of sexual activity.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:04 AM
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I can't decide whether or not this tale is meant to be a cautionary tale not unlike those in sex ed classes.

"It's like a pie. And then you won't have any pie left for your husband, because the GOAT in your BUTT ate it!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:04 AM
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Gonerill's preggers!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:17 AM
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A challenging job would work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:19 AM
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No, Socrates was asking for an answer to "what is F?" that is more than a mere enumeration of instances.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:20 AM
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So, to go OT right away, is there a word for a happy event that makes your life more complicated? Or, a nice gift that you can't just reach out and take? Good news that makes you stressed?

"mixed blessing"
"blessing in disguise"
"devil in disguise"
"devil doll"
"party doll"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:21 AM
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double-edged sword


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:23 AM
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a nice gift that you can't just reach out and take?

I bought you a burial plot!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:23 AM
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A silver lining, complete with attached cloud.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:24 AM
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And I believe you have a fine son, apo.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:25 AM
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Fruit basket.

Okay, back to work for me.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:26 AM
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a nice gift that you can't just reach out and take?

"Apo's 'sword'"

Pudding boy remains fantastic, and is probably the real life Harry Potter, Apo.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:26 AM
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So, was there a goat in his butt?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:27 AM
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When my niece was 3 or 4, she dreamily said, apropos of nothing, "I want to be buried in hot lava".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:28 AM
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17 - sounds like a goth to me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:29 AM
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So, was there a goat in his butt?

It was a sheep but, in his defense, sometimes they're hard to tell apart just by sound.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:30 AM
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17: My son once said to me, "When I'm an old man, you'll live under a gravestone."


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:31 AM
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"Apo's 'sword'"

Excellent. "Impaled on Apo's sword." Indeed.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:32 AM
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And whaddayaknow, but Mickey Kaus is a coyote.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:36 AM
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Teh awesome. Can't wait to meet that kid.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:37 AM
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OT:

Why haven't we talked about this yet? As might be expected, the comments are the best part.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:38 AM
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"You ate a sheep?"

"No, mommy, but it's in me."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:40 AM
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is there a word for a happy event that makes your life more complicated? Or, a nice gift that you can't just reach out and take? Good news that makes you stressed?

Alanis Morrisette tells me the word is "ironic."

And if Morrisette's wisdom is inadequate for you, an equally wise and relevant and factually correct observation is that the Chinese ideogram for "crisis" is a combination of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:40 AM
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18: She's a very cheery, dramatic, outgoing kid. Of course, she's still only 10.

She has a shoe fetish and owns 20-30 pairs of shoes of all sizes. Every time her mom goes to a thrift store she buys a $1 pair. I don't know what women did with their feet back on the veldt, but it seems innate (first notied when she was 2).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:42 AM
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PF's Chinese example has been debunked hundreds of times, as he knows. So has the "Eskimos have a hundred words for snow", which I think was pulled from someone's butt decades ago as an off-hand illustration of the mind-experiment type.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:45 AM
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20: When a friend's kid was about 4 or 5, she found him looking at her with intense sadness. She finally asked him what was wrong and he said "I just found out that in a few weeks you're going to die of oldness."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:47 AM
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The eskimo character for "crisis" is a combination of the characters for "snow" and "yellow."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:48 AM
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26: A crisitunity!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:51 AM
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I am very pro "kids say the darnedest things" stories when the darn things feature death.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:52 AM
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OT again:

This is an Edwards ad now, but it's likely to be a GOP ad next summer. Sigh.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:56 AM
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Geoff Pullum has a great history of the eskimo claim and how it...snowballed. Sorry. Anyway, "The great eskimo vocabulary hoax" is a great read.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:57 AM
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This is an Edwards ad now, but it's likely to be a GOP ad next summer. Sigh.

In other "I hate my party" news, the SC Democrats voted against letting Colbert on the ballot. What, give a platform to a wildly popular comedian who'll endlessly mock the opposition? That's just crazy talk.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:04 AM
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36: Well, yeah, but there were some campaign finance law issues that the party couldn't very well be seen as aiding & abetting. And it's not like Colbert doesn't already have a pretty big platform to begin with.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:05 AM
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36 --> 35.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:06 AM
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campaign finance law issues

Yeah, you can't really blame the SC Democratic Party for following the law.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:08 AM
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Bah, they're not the ones financing him. He'd be the one who'd have to comply. That's what lawyers are for.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:12 AM
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26: Mark Schmitt at the Decembrist once did a post about how much it annoyed him to hear management consultants talk about how the Chinese symbol/word for crisis meant both danger and opportunity.

At some point, he just thought, "I bet that it isn't even true." He was going to consult his readers, but before he could someone told him--in a comment on another blog-- that he was repeating myths about Chinese characters. He was then directed to this article which says that danger + opportunity ≠ crisis.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:15 AM
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39: Yeah, but they'd have to either come after him or look like they were condoning him, and given that he would be a real asset, they're in a spot. Coming after him would look mean, but condoning would look corrupt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:16 AM
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John:

According to Mandarin Tools, the Chinese phrase that homer simpson translates as "crisitunity" is wēi jī:

危機.

The two character combination is given as a translation of "crisis" and wēi means "danger" and jī means "opportunity."

I suppose you might say the story has been debunked because this is a two character combination, rather than a single character composed of other characters. Nevertheless the accuracy of the translation seems straightforward. My copy of *Reading and Writing Chinese* confirms the translation of the component characters, and adds the note that the character for Wei is traditionally said to originate in the image of a man looking off of a cliff.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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"Eskimos have a hundred words for snow"

I love trolling by dropping this phrase and getting people to correct me. Dance, my puppet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:23 AM
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The two character combination is given as a translation of "crisis" and wēi means "danger" and jī means "opportunity."

M/tch has explained at apo's that this is because it means something like "an opportunity for danger".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:27 AM
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This is an Edwards ad now

Why molest Strauss like that?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:29 AM
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40: The debunking you link to rests mostly on the interpretation of ji, denying that it has the positive connotations that the English word "opportunity" does. I've seen this claim before, but it mostly strikes me as stretching for an change to debunk irritating management types. Even if the connotations are different, it looks to me that there is substantial overlap in the semantic fields of "opportunity" and "ji." "Opportunity" is still given in dictionaries as a translation of Ji.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:30 AM
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44: that sounds good, and obviously the debunking of the story is being pushed by people who actually know Chinese, rather than simply have access to a couple dictionaries.

But...

I often get the sense that this sort of debunking is motivated more by a desire to feel superior than to actually correct sloppy thinking. Moreover, the fact that there is an element of truth to the original story gets completely lost. People start saying "really there is now word that is a combination of the words "crisis" and "opportunity"! When really they should at best be saying "the interpretation is more complicated than that."

All this applies directly to the eskimo words for snow bit, too.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:35 AM
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42 - the second character you provide, at the site you provide, gives the definitions "machine; moment, chance", not "opportunity." See the Victor Mair link in 40.

44 - I assume that you and M/tch are just following heebie's example in 43.

43. I once used a .sig that was something like "for the same reason that some people say Eskimos have a hundred words for snow, engineers have a hundred words for things that don't work." People e-mailed me to correct me. Even though I intentionally dropped the "some people say" in there to signify that I knew better.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:35 AM
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H-L are we looking at the same site? I get "machine; opportunity; secret" Its the 15th entry on the table that comes up,


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:38 AM
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Starting from the page you linked, going to "Character Dictionary" under "Tools for Using Chinese", entering the second character you provided in the Unicode field.

Entering "opportunity" in the English lookup field returns nothing.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:43 AM
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33: What hath Jon Stewart wrought? Juxtaposing clips of pols contradicting themselves, sheesh, what'll kids think up next. Maybe goats in their butts or something. That said, HRC's passion for triangulation was pretty overwhelming in the debate. Good for Edwards for pointing it out.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:43 AM
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48 is the trolliest .sig ever.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:43 AM
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Damn, I was totally pwned. It took me a while to look up the html code for &ne. I have completely forgotten how to type & ne together without having it transformed into the proper symbol, but that was probably unnecessary knowledge that would only serve to clutter up my brain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:44 AM
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I was entering the Pinyin, "ji1". The result of the pinyin search gave the almost same definition as my dead tree dictionary, which only adds "to be quick witted" as another option.

Again, I'm not going to argue with people who speak Chinese and have a sense of how the words are interpreted in real conversation. I'm just saying the urban legend didn't come out of nowhere.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:47 AM
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Wang Li's Classical Chinese dictionary gives three meanings for ji by itself: trigger (literal sense), turning point, and craftiness. These are all reflected in modern compounds.

In the vast majority of modern compounds suffixed ji just means "machine" (derived from "trigger" -- in the same way, "machine" originally meant "contrivance", including conspiracies and traps: OED.)

Modern definitions of ji (including use in suffixes) are 1.) machine 2.) airplane 3.) turning point 4.) opportunity 5.) transformation 6.) cleverness.

So #4 does mean "opportunity" though only in compounding, where the root meaning is "turning point". It's somewhat the way "manners" can tacitly mean "good manners", so you can say "He has no manners" or "He has bad manners" and mean the same thing.

I don't believe that ji is ever used standing alone any more, though in classical times it was.

It's pretty clear that wei-ji "crisis" means "dangerous turning point" and not "crisis + opportunity", though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:10 AM
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S/B: It's pretty clear that wei-ji "crisis" means "dangerous turning point" and not "danger + opportunity", though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:14 AM
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PK's joke this morning:

Mama, who is Spiderman's arch enemy?
I dunno, who?
Probably a flyswatter.

(Later)
No wait, Mama, I know who Spiderman's real archenemy is!
Who?
Batman!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:15 AM
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What's annoying about that Edwards ad is that in fact, she's not contradicting herself at any point. "The politics of parsing" = "the politics of acknowledging that some issues are more complicated than soundbites."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:17 AM
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57 is great.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:17 AM
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in fact, she's not contradicting herself at any point

On Iraq, she most certainly is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:21 AM
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58: Really? I'm all for nuanced answers and everything. But it sure seemd to me that Hillary was, if not directly contradicting herself, waffling throughout the debate. As for the ad, yes, I agree that it oversimplifies the situation. Finally, when did the verb "parse" become such a cornerstone of our political discourse? Under Clinton? That's a serious question, by the way.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:22 AM
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So has the "Eskimos have a hundred words for snow", which I think was pulled from someone's butt decades ago as an off-hand illustration of the mind-experiment type.

They may not have 100 words for it, but their expertise in snow-related matters turns out to be quite useful for solving dastardly crimes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:23 AM
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Okay, apostropher is less polite than I am. But it's his blog. I'm just a guest.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:23 AM
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Why haven't we talked about this yet? As might be expected, the comments are the best part.

I laughed at this one: "Hmm, this reminds me of a movie I once saw. It was about a woman who was very pretty, and this pretty woman is scoffed at when she tries to buy clothing at a fancy store, even though she was pretty. I believe it was called "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down".


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:47 AM
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61: Translation of the ad: yes, we should end the war, but since Bush has fucked shit up, we are probably going to have some troops in the area for a long time dealing with new terrorist cells and guarding our embassies against people who now hate us. Of course I'll keep social security safe, but I'm not going to commit to A Particular Plan until I've sorted out the fucking budget mess. Of course I think illegal immigrants should have drivers licenses, but I'm not going to *say* so because it's a political third raiil; I'm going to make noises about how it's "not the Right Thing but practically speaking you have to do it anyway."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:53 AM
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It's like a pie. And then you won't have any pie left for your husband, because the GOAT in your BUTT ate it!

Shorter (Chaucer's) "Miller's Tale"?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:11 AM
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and, talking of goats, this is an image that might never appear in an American paper.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:40 AM
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65: Right. And isn't that just triangulation, equivocation, dissimulation? I suspect you know what I'm saying. But just in case, I'll show my cards: Hillary might be a good president, I don't know; I find her politics-as-usual streak maddening and view her as the Democrat's establishment candidate; the recent debate seemed to be the first time she's shown any weakness in a public forum. In short, I think the Edwards ad is too simplistic. But it cuts to the heart of the issue. And if it derails Hillary's campaign, even a bit, opening up some room for Edwards or Obama, I think that's a good thing.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:52 AM
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Here are my august thoughts on the crisitunity issue (starts at comment 9), which ben so flagrantly and churlishly refused to link to. What a jerk.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:26 PM
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I thought Karl was being rather silly. Eymologically, chi meant "turning point", etc., not "opportunity". In some modern compounds it means crisis, and in different modern compounds it means opportunity.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:33 PM
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Hell, I'll just copy it because it's exactly the sort of thing that leads to freshman hoping Chinese philosophy will solve their problems.

What I meant by "mystical koan for entrepreneurs" is that the people one usually hears spouting the line about "the Chinese word for crisis contains both opportunity and danger" are not Sinologists or linguists or anything like that. It's usually motivational speakers and business consultants who don't really know the first thing about China or Chinese and it's usually presented in an "Ancient Chinese Wisdom" sort of way, i.e. "see, those wise and exotic Orientals realize that every crisis presents an opportunity!" That's the bullshit I was referring to.

It's as if, using your example, a Chinese Amway representative told his sales troops that the English word for crisis is derived from a root meaning sieve, which shows that those ingenious and industrious Americans realize that a crisis is really just a chance to sift through your options and choose the best one. Yes the etymology part is accurate, but the rest is, basically, bullshit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:36 PM
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Second bit should be italicized, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:38 PM
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OT: George Bush defense torture in the Nov. 8, 1967 edition of the New York Times.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:39 PM
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65: No, *that* isn't triangulation or dissimulation. It's politics. And the acknowledgment that the situation in Iraq is so fucked up that we really *are* unlikely to just pull out entirely and leave the Iraqis to their own devices, even if we "end the war." Blah blah interests and allies in the region, blah blah oil.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:40 PM
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defends.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:41 PM
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we really *are* unlikely to just pull out entirely and leave the Iraqis to their own devices, even though it's the only way the situation can begin to improve ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:44 PM
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76: That is probably true. Nonetheless.

This reminds me of the time I attended some peace group meeting in college and they were all offended when I said that the US really was not ever going to get rid of a standing military. Apparently my saying that was a self-fulfilling prophecy, because ya just gotta believe, man.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:46 PM
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71: I remember now that a Chinese graduate student used that "crisis = danger + opportunity" trope in her dissertation that I was proofreading.

Given that Chinese was her first language, I have to think this isn't a complete fabrication.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:50 PM
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77: so, if I understand the analogy correctly, we should just not worry about the fact that Clinton has no intention of ending the war because she would never end the war regardless?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:53 PM
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Of the Democrats running, Clinton is by far the worst on the Iraq War. For that reason I will not support her in the primary, and will vote for her very unhappily in the general (in the full expectation that her foreign and military policy will be bad). She has forthrightly and determinedly refused to make any concession at all to "doves", even though she would gain politically by doing so. She's depending the support of party loyalists, some of whom (especially the pros)are liberal hawks like her, and some of whom grossly misunderstand her position.

What the hawks are trying to do now is cut losses in some way in Iraq while making only minor tweaks in the interventionist policies that got us there. Hillary is one of them.

B, if that's what you want, it's there for you. But don't fudge. Hillary may have been misrepresented on aliens and some other issues, but not that one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:06 PM
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Chinese can be sly in telling people what they want to hear, and they also have their own folk and pop etymologies, some of which are silly.

Weiji etymologized means "dangerous turning point". I don't think that there's any suggestion at all that things can get either a lot better or a lot worse. I think that the suggestion is just that they might get a lot worse, or they might not. That's what's at issue with the American pop references to the word.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:10 PM
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80 is part of why i'm depressed about this whole process.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:11 PM
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Isn't shouting at rallies about how she will "end this war" sort of a concession to doves?


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:22 PM
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81: Upon reflection, it's true there's really no reason to think a native speaker couldn't be wrong about etymology -- for a while it seemed there were lots of radicalized feminist college students that really thought "history" was derived from "his story".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:29 PM
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No substantive concession on any important detail. No second thoughts about her original vote. Repeated refusals to commit herself in any specific way.

Nixon was always the anti-War candidate. Johnson was the anti-war candidate. Except on the details. (Sorry to mention Vietnam again, but my understanding now is that interventionism has hardly been affected by public opinion at all since 1941, and 1968-75 was the most dramatic case of that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:35 PM
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lots of radicalized feminist college students that really thought "history" was derived from "his story".

Can't be true.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 2:45 PM
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86: I dunno about "lots" but I'd bet the lives of my children there were and probably are some. It's impossible to underestimate the willingness of some people to believe what they want to believe.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:05 PM
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74 and 77: I'm just not seeing it. She's trying, hard, to have it not just both ways, but as many ways as people will allow her to have it. She wants to end the war but won't. She doesn't want President Bush to have more power to take us to war in Iran but will give it to him. She doesn't regret her original vote for the war but kinda does, at least given what we know now about how badly the president has bungled things. If all of this isn't triangulation, I really don't know what the word means. Which is possible, I suppose, but doens't seem likely.

Also, I don't buy that she wasn't dissimulating about licenses in New York. Yes, it's an incredibly complex issue. But that doesn't mean her answer(s) were complex. They weren't. They were dodges, an effort to have it both ways.

And again, that's why, even if it oversimplifies, I think the Edwards ad is fair enough. You say politics, I say triangulation. It's up to the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to decide.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:16 PM
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Well, and to believe stuff they hear without thinking about it. I'd bet that that misconception existed among at least some college students, but that it'd probably be more likely among less radicalized feminist types: someone who'd hear the fictional etymology in passing, and not be tuned in to realized that it was being made in service of a rhetorical point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:17 PM
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Re: the false view that "history" coming from "his story".

I've heard people talk about herstory. There were a bunch of articles about this in the early 90's.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:47 PM
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I've always figured that was a pun.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:51 PM
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I've read academic papers that referred throughout to "herstory". Like: "The recent herstory of the Romanian people is an example of..." and on and on. Annoying.

"Womyn" is also annoying. Fucking feminists.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:53 PM
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Anyway, the real etymology is that the term "history" comes from "his Tory" - a reference to the official chronicler appointed by the King of England. These accounts of the past were later challenged by the opposition part, giving birth to the Whig interpretation of "his Tory", later shortened to "history" in view of the fact that Whigs did not just interpret Tory writings, but conducted research of their own.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:55 PM
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I get mentioned in a post title and then extensively quoted by a regular in a comment thread? All in the same week?

I can feel my already sizable head growing as I type this.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:57 PM
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95

I once listened to a paper at an academic conference where the speaker used "history and herstory" or "histories and herstories", alternating with "herstory and history" and "herstories and histories", every time the word "history" would have traditionally been used. This particular paper had a lot of such occasions.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:01 PM
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96

Good things happen soon after you permit me to meet you.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:01 PM
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97

I love bashing on misguided neologisms and misbegotten Whorfianism as much as anyone, but I do find it pretty hard to believe that any significant number of radfems ever thought "history" was derived from "his story." The point (such as it was) was supposed to be, I'm pretty sure, that "history" was rhetorically similar to "his story," not that the one was derived from the other.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:02 PM
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98

I thought it was pretty obvious that `herstory' was making a rhetorical point, and the etymology was a joke. Anyone I met who used the word certainly viewed it that way, including some radical lesbian activists. They didn't mean `herstory because it's not just history', they meant `herstory, because, well, fuck men (and this will piss them off)'. You don't have to agree with their take to see that they weren't falling into the trivial confusion suggested.

`womyn' annoying or no, has an etymological logic (or rather, rejects an etymological logic) but similarly was meant rhetorically.

Whether or not these sorts of things enlightened more people than they pissed off is probably hard to conclude.

As to whether or not you can find a person who took the fake etymology to be gospel, well, people believe all sorts of damn fool things. Finding one doesn't mean much.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:03 PM
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99

97 and 98 are of course right. And the speaker I mentioned in 95 was male, and it was the clumsiness of the construction, coupled with his demeanor of "praise me now for being so sensitive, oh and also please please sleep with me please for I am so sensitive, see?" that made it memorable.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:22 PM
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100

I didn't suggest that anyone thought it was etymology. Of course it's rhetoric. And, notably, like 99, I've encountered these spellings being utilized much more often by men than womyn, particularly by smarmy "feminist" men.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:26 PM
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101

99: So did you fuck him?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:30 PM
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102

101: A gentlemyn never tells.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:32 PM
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103

100: It is surprising that you've met so many feminist men.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:37 PM
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104

And on that note, I'll suggest that it's just about impossible for this story to be any more awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 7:01 AM
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105

I find 104 awesome, because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 7:18 AM
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