02 July 2005

Some Orange Peels With Your Fireworks?

      From today's NYT comes this very good article that stands as a good reminder of the unities of history and language, especially as Monday celebrates the anniversaries of both American independence and Dr Johnson's dictionary.    It's this observation that I find most trenchant:

Thus this dictionary, written by a man who detested American democratic principles, is paradoxically almost democratic in its organization. It is fitting that a young nation trying to shake off a king would be attracted to a lexicographer who rejected a tyrannical vision of the language.
Something to remember, especially in this age in which discernment is often supplanted by mealy-mouthed populism--- and by rhetorical bastardry, especially that represented by the anti-logical Bushies.

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