Thursday, October 3, 2019

First female President of the USA?

Well, it's a long shot. But if Trump and Pence were to be impeached simultaneously (and they now both appear to be guilty of the same crime relating to misuse of power and the Ukraine), then - according to the line of succession - the Speaker of the House of Representatives takes the throne. Long live Nancy Pelosi.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Modifiers versus nouns and verbs

For once I must admit that a pope has made a fairly decent point. Maybe it's not perfect, but there are some merits to the position of Francis. CNN reports:
In a speech on Monday to the Dicastery for Communications, the Vatican's communications authority, Pope Francis urged people not to describe Christianity with qualifiers and adjectives. "We have fallen into the culture of adjectives and adverbs, and we have forgotten the strength of nouns," he said.
Instead of calling churches "small but authentic," or trying to distinguish things as "authentically Christian," he said people should call them simply "Christian." The term "Christian" is strong and authentic enough as it is, without the need for adjectives, he said.

"I am allergic to those words," he added.
Of course the problem with his argument... something that Francis seemed to realize in other reporting... is that the word, "Christian", in the context that he used it, is in fact an adjective. Yes, "Christian" may also be used as a noun, an adjectival noun... but fundamentally it is an adjective. When we describe a place of worship or a person as "Christian", then we use the word "Christian" as an adjective. If we say someone is a Christian, then the adjective takes on the form of a noun; but it is still fundamentally an adjective.

Leaving aside that relatively minor issue, the notion of a "culture of adjectives and adverbs" is indeed interesting. Certainly, the extensive use of adjectives and adverbs does tend to color a message in ways that are sometimes unpredictable and even unwanted or misleading. Adjectives and adverbs may, on occasion, blur the science of communication, even when they simultaneously enhance the art.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

An extraordinary loser

Boris Johnson managed to become the British Prime Minister, and within just days or weeks (not months) he has racked up an impressive, indeed an unprecedented, string of losses with no apparent wins along the way. He lost his parliamentary majority, he lost the support of even his own brother, and just minutes ago he lost a huge and historic case in the Supreme Court, in which a bench of 11 justices unanimously declared his prorogation of parliament to be unlawful and annulled. And we haven't even begun to talk about the underlying issue, Brexit. Well done, Boris... you stand first as the worst.

Monday, September 16, 2019

America's been stolen...

And not just by Trump. Before there was Banksy, there was Blenheim Palace.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Merciful Trump

Never one to set his own bar too high, Trump tells us that he could win the Afghan war "in a week". He just doesn't "want to kill 10 million people". In other words, for now he is not inclined to commit genocide on the scale of Hitler or Stalin. What a relief!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Political posturing

So we see that Bernie Sanders is now an unapologetic millionaire, having written a couple books hyped with pseudorevolutionary rhetoric. Bernie's hypocritical reply to critics: "If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire too." And another false idol crumples on feet of clay.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The right question

Once in a while a penetrating query receives a revealing response. In a CBS interview yesterday Hillary was asked whether her husband should have resigned in the wake of revelations about his relations with Monica Lewinski. Hillary's immediate response, without the slightest hesitation, was No. She rationalized her position by comparing Bill to Donald and, by implication, herself to Melania.