Hasty Ruminations

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Accuracy, Sort Of


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A little while ago, I suggested that we choose something besides English as our national language in the U.S.A.

The memorials recently written to Steve Irwin, and to the 9/11/2001 victims, perhaps will illuminate the point. The authors are not to blame: all want to express grief, sadness, outrage or hope. It's the language which lets them down.


"... filled with emptiness."

Yes, I... what?


"... more than fair ..."

I understand the intent, but the words are a mess. Consider a bunch of numbers - 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Now count in 5 from the left, and 5 from the right: (0 1 2 3 4 and 10 9 8 7 6). We wind up on 5. If 0 is guilty, and 10 is innocent, then maybe 5 is midway, a little bit of both. What can be fairer than 5? Where is "more than fair" on this scale?


One more, from NYC Mayor Bloomberg today: "Their absence will always be with us."

Isn't it odd that we understand what he said, but the words don't describe it?!


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