January 4, 2007KR BlogUncategorized

Short Takes

Literary snobs–straw men?

Language Log clarifies a recent BBC News article.

“Heroism might not be the first virtue you would expect to find in the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”

My sentence: Philosophy, like literature, is about understanding how to be human.


“Did you call someone a plonker before 1966, a prat before 1968, a wally before 1969, a tosser before 1977 or a wazzock before 1984?”

Two big losses for writing: Itche Goldberg, and Tillie Olsen.

And one more possible loss.

“Baseball probably comes second to boxing (but well behind) in attracting good literature.” (via Books Inq)

2006: Bringing sexy back. 2007: Bringing politics back.

All is not lost with the libraries, writes Dave Lull.

“Engl. droll is from French, but the French took it over from Dutch. A Dutch noun related to it designated a jester, a buffoon, a funny (“droll”) little fellow. Norwegian dialectal Drolen means ‘Devil.’ The Vandals called the Goths troulous (this word has come down to us in Greek transliteration), that is, trolls. If the original trolls were like our bogeys, it is easy to understand the origin of that ancient ‘ethnic slur’ and of Drolen.”

Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate Saul Bellow.