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Steven L. Taylor
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Did someone institute Super Daylight Savings Time or something?
Kathy, Kevin Drum reports that Latin America is experiencing a surge of Covid deaths and I know you are hyper-aware of Covid but please hunker down as best you can. I hope you continue to be well and unlike the President of the U.S. this Catholics thoughts and prayers for you and your loved ones to stay well are authentic.
Would that I could.
I was finally working from home, when the cluster-f**k from Puebla hit, and now we’re all going to the office every day.
What can I do? I wash my hands a lot and I wear a cloth mask I wash every day.
To be frank, I’d be more worried in New York or Texas.
A long time ago, I visited for a few days with a cousin who had a large collection of MAD magazine. I mean hundreds of issues. I read through some of them, and thumbed through about half. One gag I recall vaguely was a book-of-the-month type club of Very Thick Books.
One title I recall was God: The First Zillion Years.
I think an even thicker book than that, the thickest book ever, many people say that, would be “Trump: Lies, Idiocies, and Inanities. Volume I”
Also, does anyone remember Mel Brooks’ “History of the World Part One”? In the Roman segment, there’s a scene where the emperor, played by Dom DeLuise, asks for someone to bring him a lyre. Two soldiers bring in a man who is loudly saying “The check is in the mail! I gave at the office!” Ha ha.
I wonder if someone could edit that scene so the soldiers bring in Trump.
As I recall, that was a request for a small lyre, so the soldiers brought in a small liar. Trump weighs about 325, so he’s a very big liar.
Or wait, is that “Life During Wartime”?
Doctors Without Borders is now in the US helping the Navajo
In other news, Liz Cheney posted a tweet praising Anthony Fauci, and there are thousands of right wing replies attacking her, calling her liberal, etc.
@Teve: my favorite reply to Liz Cheney is
@MarkedMan: “[Theme guess]”
I suspect Dr. Taylor is too polite to say you’re wrong. That’s why he makes us feel like when we’re with him…
I Want A New Drug?
If that is it sure applies to life during the pandemic. Of course I could be way off.
@Pete S: Damn that didn’t take very long.
Republicans Not So Sure About This Free Market Thing When It Comes to Oil
Banks are increasingly reluctant to give loans to oil and gas companies, and some Republicans are urging Trump to use the federal government to somehow force them to.
But Trump is the smallest man I know.
I feel like vomitingheadline of the Day-
Alabama Woman Livestreamed 1-Year-Old Granddaughter Being Sexually Abused by Father, Police Say
@Teve: They’ve signed a suicide pact. Unfortunately they’re gonna take all of us with them.
Another time honored tradition killed by the Coronavirus Florida headline of the day-
Escambia County not mailing home report cards, grades will be online
How are children supposed to hide their report cards now? Or make excuses for them not being available yet? Like, the dog ate it, the report card fell out of my book bag, teacher is sick this week etc etc
The coronavirus is just so unfair to children.
Moderators, please spring my previous comment from moderation.
Personal news: my daughter has finally taken to potty training, and my son has started teething. And just like that, i see a future with 50% less diapers and a cupboard devoid of bottles and nipples.
In Ontario the kids have been told that even if they go back, there will be no final exams and their marks cannot go down from where they were on March 13. Their marks can however go up during this online portion of the year. Now my daughter cannot wait for her report card!
@Kathy: @CSK: Actually I thought you were going to mention this scene.
Nice to read someone with optimism regarding the future. Now you need to start worrying about what loser boyfriends she’ll bring home. 🙂
And in other pleasant news. A scholarship is awarded to a surprised student in a most unusual way
“Fauci praises South Carolina’s COVID-19 response” (ABC News 4). But did the mainstream news show that? No, they were splicing together bits of Dr. Fausi’s statements to make it sound like he was warning against early re-openings: out of context, edited.
South Carolina indeed has it right, and it hosting the NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway this Sunday. NASCAR is moving ahead while the NBA and MLB are still twiddling around. The WWE also is way out in front on this.
Get ‘er going!
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: The Oral History of a Modern Action Classic
Production was shut down, the stars clashed and studio executives were baffled. Here’s how a difficult shoot led to an Oscar-winning masterpiece.
NYT and if you love that film as much as I, you will gain a lot more respect for all involved. Well worth the read.
Well, Cult45 is in an uproar. They’re very, very angry at Howard Stern for telling them the unvarnished truth: that Trump absolutely despises them. Of course he does. Trump is a failed social climber who loathes anyone from the lower orders.
Mitch McConnell moves to expand Bill Barr’s surveillance powers
US nursing homes seek legal immunity as Covid-19 spreads ‘like brushfire’
Nothing says “free market capitalism” like “you can’t sue me for my wholly negligent actions.”
On the other hand:
So what’s the answer?
Yeah, right. Stronger regulations with teeth. Sure. After their lobbyists get done gutting them. I’ve heard that song and dance before:
Personal responsibility for thee
But not for mee
@Teve: Trump’s much-quoted remark “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any support” is a perfect illustration of what Stern said. He openly called his supporters mindless cultists, and they loved him even more for it.
This may be the truest thing Stern ever said. And it’s so obvious, too, that Trump despises his voters.
Stern has made a lot of true and insightful remarks over the years.
This is utterly unconscionable. Falsely manipulating the death toll is dangerous and stupid, so basically par for the course with this administration. Please note–this isn’t about the argument of under-reporting. The President wants actual verified cases to be discounted by manipulating the parameters. So, someone enters the hospital with covid-19, develops sepsis and dies, they want that to be counted as a sepsis death, not a covid death.
This will lead to bad data, bad data leads to bad decision-making. All to make this vain fool look slightly less culpable for the blood on his hands.
Ding ding ding!
@Jen: Why doesn’t he just cut to the chase?
@Kathy: No, I didn’t click the right date to schedule the forum.
I look forward to all the principled “Fear the Deep State” Conservatives rebelling against McConnell and the Trump Administration for seeking that extensions and expansion of… checking my notes… deep state power.
Though, for the record, I’m very much willing to join with them on this one… when they show up of course.
I didn’t remember that scene. The Roman part had hilarious moments when mixing in anachronisms, like the soldier asking the apothecary about a pack of Trojans, or Comicus’ occupation being “stand up philosopher.”
Too bad you’re not poor – I understand tht they’re immune to the virus, at least according to
@Steven L. Taylor:
Ok. But next time this happens, I want to hear something about a flux capacitor, or a short in the time circuits 🙂
@Steven L. Taylor: Thanks, now I got that song stuck in my head. 😉
Trying this post again, hopefully it won’t get moderated.
Dallas Morning News poll has Biden and Trump neck-and-neck in Texas.
Texas Republican Party’s fundraising is down 75%. Texas Democratic Party’s fundraising is up 25% compared to 2016.
My good friend quit her lucrative job as a VP in the largest nonprofit consulting firm in the world to take on the role of Finance chair for the Texas Dems. I think she made the right choice. Her future is now so bright she has to wear sunglasses at night.
@Kylopod: You know, it never occurred to me before where the expression “cut to the chase” comes from. For some reason I was mixing it with “cut to the quick” which is an old expression and refers to cutting your fingernails down to the root bed itself. But “cut to the chase” turns out to be exactly what it sounds like – the chase scene being the most popular part of a movie even back to the silent era.
There, I’ve learned something for today. I should just go to bed right now.
First: You really need to subscribe to the New York Times under their $1 / week promotion. The nice thing is that I was expecting that to end after a certain number of weeks (I had marked my calendar) but they extended it at that rate into January without my asking.
Having said that… This is one of the stories that I wanted to bring forward.
Yes, Trump is mismanaging this crisis, but we forget what a truly horrid administration this Trump presidency is, on what we would have considered the old run-of-the-mill days that he was POTUS.
The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.
If you have a subscription to teh NYT, they go into detail on how each was passed, and a link to more detail on each.
The GOP had SUCH a useful idiot.
@Liberal Capitalist: TL;DR 😉
@Jax: I come to serve.
The last inflation report, for the close of April 2020, shows inflation of -1% or so. Partly this was driven by lower gas prices, but also some staples fell in price (odd, given current conditions).
The inflation-protected bonds I invest in, rose in market value after that report.
Immune can be a vague term. What it means is your immune system can mount a decisive response before the pathogen settles in and causes damage, or a bit less strict you don’t get sick after being infected.
Well and good. Now, if you catch SARS-CoV2 and don’t ever develop symptoms, were you immune? Maybe the initial infection was small and by barely viable viruses. A virus recently shed from a person is not the same as one that has languished on an elevator button over the weekend.
A dead (ie non-viable) virus still has some of the surface proteins used to infect cells. So maybe if you are infected with such, your body’s immune system reacts to it. you test positive, but as no or few of the viruses ever reproduce, you don’t get symptoms.
Damn narratives, they can be very convincing. I’ve no idea if any of this is even possible, it just makes logical sense to me based on what little I know about biology.
I think if you get infected, even though the symptoms are mild to unnoticeable, you’re not immune at the time you are infected, nor were you before that. You may well be immune afterward.
The GOP fully expects that. You get numb reading something like that… after all who could possibly drive all that in just 3 short years, right?
For those that turn to OTB for lighter entertainment…
Jimmy Kimmel just completely firebombed Trump, Pence and the MAGA folk. Even if you do not usually watch Kimmel, this May 11th clip is a must see:
95 South says:
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 07:48
@Mister Bluster: I was writing about impeachment. Democrats put party over country. Republicans put country over party.
Therfore we do not have to apply these pronouncements to anything else that Republicans, including the leader of the Republican Party, do.
@Liberal Capitalist: LOL “Apologizing to the Trump administration for lying is like apologizing to Barry Bonds for using steroids“
Democrats will do anything to hold power or take away an opponent’s power. Republicans will do what is morally right blah blah blah.
I want to share a quote from something I am reading right now.
Oh boy did this country fail that four years ago and we’re living with the consequences right now and into the indeterminate future.
Who wrote that quote? William Jefferson Clinton in his autobiography ‘My Life’ published in 2004.
@Mister Bluster: 95 IQ will just define anything Republicans do as “for the good of the country”.
Should I tell Neil that it only gets harder? Nah. He’ll find out in due time.
@Teve: See the ongoing discussion on yesterday’s forum.
@Kathy: The inflation-protected bonds I invest in, rose in market value after that report.
Are you buying the bonds directly or are you in mutual funds or ETFs that invest in the bonds? We talked to our advisor last week and I mentioned that I was concerned about inflation and inquired what they (he works for Schwab) thought about TIPs. After first telling us that Schwab sees deflation as a bigger threat and they would not recommend TIPs, he did say that if we were to invest in them he would recommend buying the bonds directly. He said the mutual funds and ETFs do not always respond in a way that makes sense. Since they are traded by ordinary folk sometimes panic has been known to set in and in the short run their behavior is not consistent with “what should happen”.
It certainly wasn’t you.
As a PR professional I can say with a high degree of certainty that no one–not individuals, not corporations, not governments–considers crisis management carefully enough.
I’m not sure if it’s too overwhelming or if people just don’t think bad things are ever going to happen, but humans are lousy at preparing for crises, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that voters don’t consider it and candidates don’t mention it.
As a nation, we’re staring down a multitude of coming crises. In addition to our current pandemic crisis, on the horizon we have a retirement savings crisis, an ongoing health care crisis (in two parts: one, funding, and two, access), and higher education cost crisis, at the very least.
@Mister Bluster: I didn’t raise the issue, nor did Teve. Steven did. I was talking about something else.
Here’s an interesting Tweet thread on how genetic sequencing of the various outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 informs us about where these outbreaks originated.
Interestingly, it seems New York’s horrible outbreak didn’t even originate in China–it came from Europe.
@Liberal Capitalist: Government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.
There are people who deal with crisis management as many as 162 days a year. They are baseball managers.
Another activity of mine besides reading*, is Strat-O-Matic baseball. I am doing a replay of the 1955 baseball season and currently playing a late August doubleheader between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Redlegs** at Brooklyn Ebbets Field. It is Game 1 and Brooklyn is the home team.
The Redlegs up 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, see the Dodgers come back and tie the game and put 2 runners on base with one out. The Redlegs starting pitcher, Johnny Klippstein is tired, so does SuperHal*** the computer manager go to the bullpen or leave Klippstein in? SuperHal chooses to stay with Klippstein. The next batter makes an out, then Jackie Robinson hits a grounder back to Klippstein. Who makes an error which loads the bases. Gil Hodges then walks to put the Dodgers up 2-1. Finally SuperHal goes to the bullpen and brings Rudy Minarcin in to pitch. He strikes out Johnny Podres to end the inning.
Crisis management evaluation- If not for the error by Klippstein, the Redlegs would have gotten out of the inning but that doesn’t let SuperHal off the hook. The choice to leave Klippstein led to the Dodgers taking the lead.
Don’t say it- I have too much time on my hands to write posts like this. You’re right but would you rather have me mention dung beetle fiction again?
*- I was reading ‘My life’ at lunch time today when I came across that very quote from Clinton. At this point in his autobiography he is writing about the challenges he faced as Arkansas Governor in 1979 and 1980.
**- Because of the Red scare of the late 1940’s and 1950’s, the Cincinnati Reds temporarily changed their name to the Cincinnati Redlegs.
***- SuperHal, named after game creator Hal Richman, is the game’s computer manager. I roll the dice but allow the computer to sometimes make game decisions.
Today. This was posted today, in case you’re wondering.
@Teve: If we’d started “warp speed” three fucking months ago it would have been nice. But the captain hasn’t even been on the bridge.
But, as they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. If this is actually something approaching a plan, good for them.
Still, given this administration’s complete failure up to this point, I have very little expectation “Operation Warp Speed” will even achieve minimum impulse power.
If there’s a briefing today, he’ll be bragging about this, I assume. And Cult45 will be praising him to the skies even as they’re denying the pandemic exists.
I buy them directly from the government, on their website.
They show what was invested, for how long, and at what rate. That sheet also carries a market value, which is what you’d get, minus tax withholding, should you choose to sell early. That value has been rising in all three tranches(*) I have money in since the lock down began in earnest in April. and a bit more so since the inflation report.
I think as the price of oil goes down and he dollar goes up against the peso, people expect inflation.
(*) I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I like using it.
A tranche is a portion of something, so I’d say you used the word properly.
Literal headline: “New US coronavirus hotspots appear in Republican heartlands” Link
It also sounds French-derived and obscure/specialized jargon.
You know, the word “Beef” derived from the old French “boef.” Beef led to terms like Beefsteak, which was then adopted in French as “Bifteck.”
So it’s a francized term of an anglicized old French word. Languages seem to revel in irony sometimes.
Yes, and Samuel Johnson, along with his Augustinian cohorts, referred to cows as “beeves,” as in, “There were beeves grazing in the field.” I like the word. It seems to get right to the point.
I’m fond of the word “asperge,” which is late Middle English for “asparagus.”
@CSK: In the days of yore, the nobles spoke French while the peasants spoke the local language. In Britannia, that was English. The Nobles saw cattle and chickens and sheep, but their only direct dealing with them was to eat them. The peasants raised them and dealt with them in 100 different ways but not often for eating. So it came to pass that for food, we use the French words for that animal (beef, poultry, mutton, veal) but in animal husbandry we use the English words (Cattle, chicken, sheep, calve).
And there you have it.
another old French-derived word, porkers, is used for pigs.
But I imagine an example more like “Arr! There be beeves grazin’ off the port bow, matey!”
One rule for meat names is: English for the beast and French for the feast. Thus Cow, pig, lamb in English, and beef, pork, mutton in French.
Hm. The sell check didn’t mind “beeves.” The dictionary says it’s the plural form of beef.
I wonder if any translation of the Odyssey uses the word “beeves” when describing what happens after Odysseus’ sailors desecrate the Sun god’s cattle.
@MarkedMan: @Kathy: I find it interesting that we only do this with mammals. When we eat chicken, it’s still called chicken; there are no special words for the meat of birds.
It isn’t like that in all other languages. One time when I was in a restaurant in Israel, I asked for tarnegol, which I knew was the Hebrew word for chicken. Nobody said anything at the time, and I got what I ordered, but I later found out that that isn’t what you say when talking about chicken as food; it was roughly the equivalent of someone in America ordering “cow.” You’re supposed to call it oaf, which in classical Hebrew translates as “fowl,” but in Modern Hebrew is used for chicken meat.
(Incidentally, there are a lot of stories of American Jews going to Israel and getting into trouble using archaic Hebrew they learned in American-Jewish schools. Even those of us who have studied Modern Hebrew often end up reaching for older forms when we aren’t careful.)
I know. My specialty was medieval English lit.
Germans just put “-fleisch” (meat) on the end of whatever the animal is. So a cow is “Rind” and beef “Rindfleisch,” pig is “Schwein” and pork “Schweinefleisch,” a calf is “Kalb” and veal “Kalbfleisch.”
Mutton is different, an adult sheep is “Schaf” but mutton is “Hammel” oder “Hammelfleisch.”
I cannot believe I raise beef cattle and did not know the plural was beeves. I’m so gonna use that and make a note of people’s reactions!! Got a branding tomorrow, I’ll make a point of telling the owner what fine herd of beeves he’s got. 😉
Yes, but it is damned confusing. It relates to plural meats of beef.
So, a banquet could have an array of beeves, And you could say that the herd would result in a bevy of beeves… but to call a herd of cows beeves… I don’t think that right.
In Korean, rice is the big example of the transformation. You buy “mi” in the store but what you eat is “bap.” The other thing that happens in Korean is there seems to be a difference in marking between the animal itself and the food item. It showed up when I would ask older students about what they eat or don’t eat and they would say note that they eat chicken food or fish food, but that they didn’t like eating dog food. (Children and teens don’t have that language quirk for some reason.)
@Jax: I recall “beeves” as being what the boss called the cattle on the show Rawhide back in the early 60s. It stuck in my mind because it was so unusual to me.
@Mikey: Does that mean that Fleischmann’s yeast is made by cannibals?
@Just nutha ignint cracker: No, the “Fleischmann” would be the guy you buy meat from, like a butcher (although the common word for that is Metzger).
Now Mannfleisch, that’s a wholly different…er…animal…
In today’s edition of “It Ain’t Over Until the Fat Lady Sings, And Judge Sullivan Just Pulled Her Off the Stage:”
Judge Appoints Outsider to Take On Justice Dept. in Flynn Case
And if you don’t know who Judge Gleeson is, he’s a co-author of this piece, published just two days ago in the Washington Post:
The Flynn case isn’t over until the judge says it’s over
If you want to know why Apple has a 60% profit margin on iPhones and Samsung has about a 10 to 15% profit margin on their phones, compare the specs on the new iPhone SE and on the exact same price Samsung a51.
While it feels like large swaths of the world have, and are, responding to the Trump Pandemic with a deathwish, I’m relived, to a point, we haven’t seen large numbers of healthcare workers just up and quit, even on the face of great danger, and official indifference to their situation.
On the “warp speed” thing, we won’t see a captain on the bridge until January 2021. I truly hope Biden will be up to the challenge. It looks we will have the second wave of Trump Virus even before the first wave passes.
El PITO is promising 100 million doses of a non-existent vaccine by the fall. I wonder how he intends to get it, and whether he’ll dare ship out saline solution and call it a vaccine.
At the forefront of development are DNA/RNA vaccines. These use genetic engineering to produce virus proteins, pieces (very simplistic explanation), or harmless viruses that carry the SARS-CoV2 markers. Development on these is supposed to be faster, but they have never been used in people, only in animals.
Vaccine development can only be rushed so much. Even on a human challenge model, where volunteers are expose on purpose to the pathogen after receiving the vaccine, must wait results of safety studies.
Likewise treatments. Remdesivir is available for testing now because ti had been developed against Ebola (didn’t work). It looks promising, but keep in mind viral diseases often are never cured. Not like you can cure a bacterial disease with antibiotics. They may aid recovery, or they may keep the virus at bay enough to stave off death and the worst symptoms (see AIDS treatments).
So it may be a life saver, for some, and it may shorten the course fo the disease, for some, but it’s not a silver bullet.
Love linguistics threads.
Happened upon a weird but awesome food combo this evening.
Often do breakfast for dinner and I wanted bacon, egg and cheese on toast.
I’d diced the bacon and renderered it before I figured out I was flat out of eggs.
But I did have red curry leftovers.
Do some rice, warm up the curry, dish, sprinkle rendered bacon on top.
Extremely complimentary flavors. It was weirdly yummy. I am going to garnish red curry on rice with bacon again.
That was an unexpected meal that worked out great.
Most national / regional signature dishes are syncretic.
Twitter says the FBI went to Senator Burr’s crib tonight and jacked his cell phone.
@Mikey: I wouldn’t get too excited. Didn’t the Supreme Court just slap down the 9th Circuit for soliciting outside briefs when one side didn’t want them?
I wonder if Sullivan could be hoping to tie it up in arguments and appeals till January and a new Justice team comes in and decides to prosecute again.
We’ve become a farce.
@Kathy: I’m particularly fond of this moment:
I have been feeling first wave punk bands hard recently.
I am pissed.
I have no agency.
Reverting to formative emotions.
Listening to Buzzcocks and The Clash really loud centers me. The Damned. DKs, Black Flag.
It cools me out.
Identifying as an outsider has benefits. Distance, pity, contempt.
Utterly fooling myself. We are in this together, but it feels selfishly right to be a toldya so for a little bit.
So much Joy Division and New Order.
I’d argue Ceremony may be the song of the 20th.
On the contrary — poultry (the meat of birds) is from the French poulet, whence also pullet (now obsolescent in English).
Sheep -> Mouton -> Mutton
Ox -> Boeuf -> Beef
Pig -> Porc -> Pork
Chicken -> Poulet -> Poultry
Calf -> Veel -> Veal
Game -> Venouson -> Venison
I am sick of and effing hate ads saying “We are here for you”.
You are here to make money off us and will use any wrinkle to your advantage.
Save your fake sanctimonious, C-19 serious minded bs. I declare shenanigans. You want our sympathy dollars because late stage capitalism cuts margins so short you cannot afford three months of cessation of business.
Just in time supply chains. Anti-unionization. Wage suppression.
I used to work with risk management folks. No one ever listened.
You all should be ashamed. You created and bought into a system that cannot withstand two months of hardship. Brittle. Shameful.
House of cards built on a base of sand.
The Normans had a massive influence on English. You know this; many don’t.
A large proportion of English is French and Norse. And the base of Old English is Germanic.
All of the latinate manifestations in English are attributable to successful invasions some Frankish, some Nordic that occupied Normandy that adopted to the local culture.
When this this thing backs off, go for the aviation related job.
Life has taught us to not wait.
Go for it.
Please contribute with your career insight. Your input will be vital and interesting.
We can gas about stuff we care about, but professionals can give us true insights.
This is a PR disaster the WH assiduously pretends does not exist. That is fascinating.
There was a person last week who offered up a reason that excess deaths were not necessarily attributable to C-19 and I cannot recollect what assertion was offered.
It pissed me off and determined to refute, so I just passed by the offered alternate hypothesis. In these folks minds, what explains excess mortality?
I should have added the word specific. I was talking about words for the meat of particular species. “Poultry” is used generically for the meat of any domestic fowl; it could just as easily apply to chicken, turkey, or duck. And it certainly hasn’t replaced the names of those specific birds when talking about food: you say “We’re having chicken tonight,” whereas you wouldn’t say “We’re having cow tonight.”
For chicken, in Spanish, as used in Mexico, the animals are gallo (rooster) and gallina (hen), and the meat is chicken. A chick is called pollito (little chicken).
Would that I were qualified for any.
I want to focus on writing. I made a fair start while working from home, but that ended quickly. Hopefully we’ll go back by next Tuesday.
@Kathy: Yeah, living in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood I hear “el pollo” quite a lot. Since it’s obviously related to the English poultry, it suggests it underwent the same process as the Hebrew oaf, generic to specific. It’s happened in English with other words. Deer originally referred to any animal–as the German cognate Tier still does.
So-called “despair deaths” and people who would have survived if they’d gone to the hospital for treatment but were too scared because “the media” has “overhyped” C-19. In other words, people committing suicide because they are at home alone/lost jobs, and thousands and thousands of heart attack and stroke victims who in normal times would have gone to the ER, been treated and discharged.
Indeed, it is fascinating. Everything the WH does runs counter to both effective disaster planning (that is what the entire “Pandemic Playbook” training exercise was about, and it was tossed/ignored) and effective crisis management. Crisis clients are counseled to tell the truth quickly, communicate frequently, be empathetic, radiate concern, only relate verified, knowable information from expert sources, empower experts and get out of their way…absolutely none of this is being done.
It is truly mind-blowing.
Brand those beeves, babe!
Another cultural weirdness: boys get bull metaphors and girls get chicken metaphors. Beefcake vs chick or chica.
My hypothesis is this arose in Texico and slowly seeped into the rest of of the US via cultural osmosis. As they are fond of telling us Texas is big with a large pop and is proportionally influential.
Deer is both the singular and plural. There are gender specific words, yes, but you could say “Look at the deer” and that could mean twenty deer or one.
Any big industry or any big company needs writers.
I used to work with technical writers a lot.
Obviously, be you and mind your business first, but it can’t hurt to research it a bit.
@de stijl: I had to look that one up. This was the explanation I found on a language discussion board:
Some years back I read a good book on the subject of irregularity in language, Steven Pinker’s Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. While I couldn’t remember off the top of my head if he dealt with this particular example, I just did a search of the book through Google preview, and he does indeed mention it, albeit very briefly, and he also suggests it may come from the way we use singular form when talking about hunting animals.
Basically, even the linguists and etymologists aren’t sure. It could also be just something arbitrary and fortuitous.
You have specific skills, training, and experience that directly applies to many issues we discuss here.
That makes you a highly valuable contributor. Glad you are here.
A ton of politics is messaging. And acts send a message.
Things a layman would miss you note.
I am keeping “arbitrary and fortuitous”. Very useful. Cool cite. I enjoyed that.
Another cool word: fowl
Germanic fugol or vogel which means bird or fly.
In English fowl became specified to relate to birds that provide meat, eggs, feathers: generally to domesticated birds. Chickens, ducks, geese.
It would be nonsensical in English to call a sparrow fowl. A sparrow is a bird. Entirely different class. Fowl is specific.
It seems generally true that animals that herd and birds that flock are much more likely to have distinctly unusual pluralizations.
there was the time Homer Simpson ran over an ornamental hedge trimmed to the shape of a deer. We got these lines:
Lisa: A deer!
Marge: A female deer.
Sounds like you would very much enjoy John McWhorter’s book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: the Untold Story of English, which is a general readership book by an actual linguist who specializes in creolization.
I may own that already. [Checks bookshelf. Nope, that was The Story Of English by McCrum et al.]
Cool! I will buy that. Thanks!
Goose plurilizes oddly.
Related to to tooth-teeth, foot-feet, louse-lice, foul-filth where a shifted vowel indicated plural. Old English remnant.
ESL students hate us so much.
@de stijl: Back when I was a college tutor, one time a Russian student came to me for help on an essay. The paper was describing a dancer, and then it said “She was the good dancer.” I told her that it needs to use the indefinite article there: “She was a good dancer.” She objected that she’d been taught you use the indefinite article when introducing something, the definite article when referring back to it. I had to think about this for a moment, and then I told her that by adding the adjective “good,” she’d created a new concept in the paragraph–“good dancer,” and therefore had to use the indefinite article to modify it.
It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment how complicated the article distinctions in English are, for people whose first language doesn’t have them. Yet native English speakers never have to be taught these distinctions in school; we process them intuitively. And it’s not like there’s always a perfectly logical explanation for them, either. Sometimes it’s just a matter of idiom, and it can vary from one dialect to the next: Americans say they’re going to the hospital, but the British say they’re going to hospital. Yet Americans do say they’re going to school, not the school. We go to bed, not to the bed. In Moonstruck, Nicolas Cage tells Cher he’s taking her “to the bed,” but the very oddness of the phrase is the point.
English’s complexity is deceptive, since it lacks all those massive tables of conjugations and declensions you see in most European languages, or the tones in the Chinese languages. But its grammatical nuances can be a minefield for ESL speakers. My grandmother, whose native tongue was Polish, said that German was much harder to learn in the beginning, but English was harder to master in the later stages. I’m not sure how accurate that is (McWhorter disputes that general claim), but it’s what she said, and she was pretty adept at languages.
@de stijl: Also, have you read Leo Rosten’s The Education of Hyman Kaplan? It’s a novel–or series of novels–written in the 1930s, about a European immigrant to the US (it’s implied but not stated directly that he, like Rosten himself, is a Jew whose native tongue is Yiddish), and the basic plot is that he can never pass a remedial course in English, not because he’s stupid, but because he keeps questioning all of English’s illogical rules. It’s told from the standpoint of the instructor. For example, he argues with the instructor that since the past tense of write is wrote, the past tense of bite should be bote. And he can never get comparatives and superlatives right: he says “good, better, magnificent!” He refers to flowers as “bloomers” (probably on analogy of the Yiddish/German blumen as well as the English word bloom). And so on.
And yet, fewer than half of my highly-educated friends and colleagues can consistently choose correctly between “I” and “me” in sentences that refer to themselves and one other person…
But that gets into the differences between prescriptivist and descriptivist grammar. Prescriptivism is something imposed on the language, whereas descriptivism refers to the rules that arise naturally. Native English speakers have to be taught not to say “Me and John are going to the store,” but they don’t have to be taught not to say “Me is going to the store.” There are still many rules being processed unconsciously. To take another example: the word gonna. We all know it’s an informal contraction of “going to.” But you can’t say “I’m gonna the store.” Those are distinctions that ESL speakers have to learn formally (I even remember reading a guide for ESL speakers in which they had a section on how to use gonna properly), but native speakers never have to be taught them formally at all; they’re processed purely unconsciously.
A lot of native Russian speakers I’ve known drop indefinite articles completely when speaking English declarative sentences.
“She is dancer.”
No “the” or “a”.
I assume it is a Russian construct with English words substituted.
It sounds abrupt, but I find it quite charming.
When I was trying to pick up French, I would use Spanish sentence structure and swap in the French words because that was a ruleset I’d already internalized.
Drove my professor bonkers. Apparently, she did not find it charming.
Also, we had to sing Frere Jacques at 8 am when I was hungover. You learn many things as a first term freshman. Not signing up for the 8 am class is top five.
Had Yiddish been offered as a language option I would have signed on in a second.
@DrDaveT: I he she they are subject pronouns. Me him her them are object pronouns.
I was tremendous, he was tremendous, she was tremendous, they were tremendous. The chinavirus hurt me, hurt her, hurt him, hurt them.
It’s just confusing because some people make mistakes by trying to sound too formal, so they say things like the chinavirus hurt she and I.
When I write I get it right.
When I speak I get it right most of the time.
If the message sent is the message heard, it’s good.
It’s like who and whom. There is a rule. It’s quite obscure so very few have internalized it.
If what you say is heard correctly, all is good.
Many rules are complete bullshit. Never end a sentence with a preposition. Utter nonsense that was made up by a rando with an axe to grind.
— John McWhorter, Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of “Pure” Standard English
Prescriptivism is understandably out of fashion, especially among people who have bad memories of middle school and high school. But it does have its place. Over at Language Log, Bill Poser wrote this in an essay called On Prescriptivism:
One could argue that prescriptivism is what made Italy a real country.
It’s a little more complicated than that, because prescriptivism is one of those natural processes that affect how people speak. You would never ever have sportscasters saying “Tom gave it to Joe and I” if it weren’t for prescriptivism — it’s a hypercorrection by people trying not to sound uneducated, but it changes how ordinary people speak.
You might enjoy the work of Dr. Anne Curzan of U. Michigan, who studies the effects of prescriptivism on language, descriptively.
All of that said, the question still remains why conflation between “a” and “the” does not arise naturally, but other distinctions are lost. I am not at all a prescriptivist, but I am sincerely puzzled why the I/me thing is so hard even for people who are trying to follow the prescriptive standard. They would never say “Tom gave it to I”; why does adding Joe to the sentence mess them up?
I like this McWhorter guy you’re hyping.
But that observation is still descriptivist. You’re observing the effects that prescriptivist grammar has had on the language. Descriptivism doesn’t imply ignoring the existence of prescriptivism. But to be truly prescriptivist you have to actually make a normative argument: you have to say this is how it ought to be. Prescriptivism is at bottom a kind of moral philosophy–it’s predicated on the idea that if people continue to use the language “incorrectly,” bad things will happen.
And it isn’t either-or. Even McWhorter makes a few points that could be described as modestly prescriptivist–for instance, he argues that it’s worth trying to maintain certain distinctions that people tend to ignore, such as imply vs. infer. But he rejects the sky-is-falling mentality by which prescriptivism is usually expressed.
I’d say the two “schools” exist more on a spectrum than just being polar, incompatible opposites. There are works like John Simon’s Paradigms Lost that begin to verge on unintentional self-parody, where the misuse of English is taken to be an absolute travesty (Simon unironically compares it to the Holocaust and slavery). Most of the time, though, you see prescriptivist arguments pop up in semi-humorous pieces such as the book Eats Shoots and Leaves or Gene Weingarten’s columns on misuse of literally. Beyond that, it’s an attitude you find among educators, writers, or just people getting old and bellyaching about the way kids these days are speaking.
I’m not sure what the question is here. Most languages do not contain article distinctions. It isn’t the “original,” natural state of language. It’s just like anything in grammar, including singular vs. plural, or gender markings on nouns, or case endings, where some languages have them while others get along just fine without them. One of the essential elements to grammar is redundancy. Let’s return to the earlier example of nouns that are the same in singular and plural, such as sheep. The vast majority of the time, it’s clear from context whether you’re talking about one or more than one, and in case there’s any ambiguity you always have the option of making it explicit by saying “one sheep” or “two sheep” or “many sheep” or whatever modifier you want. So there really is no need for a singular/plural distinction, when you get down to it, and plenty of languages don’t have one at all. Of course you just might find yourself in a situation where you end up saying something like “Help! The sheep escaped!” and the person who hears you has no idea if they’re going to be facing a single animal or an entire herd. But that hardly seems like a good reason to force speakers to add a plural ending all the time when there’s more than one of something. It’s almost OCD. And that’s actually the case with a lot of these so-called grammar rules that exist in some languages but not others. If it’s a feature of our own language, then we have trouble imagining how anyone could manage without it. But it’s really just something that was grafted onto the language at some point hundreds or thousands of years ago, and continued out of habit. I do know that the indefinite article in both English and the Romance languages evolved from the word for “one” in those languages. People just started using it voluntarily, until it came to be seen as necessary.
McWhorter goes into more detail about this after the passage I quoted. He argues that the notion that I is intrinsically a subject pronoun while me is intrinsically an object pronoun is a misconception arising from a faulty comparison between English and Latin grammar. He questions the entire traditional framework and comes up with a different system for understanding why English speakers naturally prefer me to I in certain constructions despite centuries of schoolroom indoctrination that they’re speaking “wrong.”