from Sunday, July20th of the year2008.
In my adult life, I have now been to Texas twice. The first was a last-minute impulse ticket purchase to visit my friend C””’s parents in Houston, see her play with the Houston Ballet, and go to the Art Car Parade. This time, it was a really last-minute impulse ticket purchase as an excuse to sit in an air conditioned room and write a piece for these twins. B”” was down here attending this conference, which was predictably intense. Like a New Music concert, there were a lot of people with walking problems at this event. There were also a lot of Mutterers to Selves, Sighers To Selves While Blogging, etc.
Something I wish I had time to deal with: making leftie people stop using the word “folks” and the phrase “ordinary folks.” Just fuckin’ stop saying it. It’s horrifying, blood curdling, smarmÃ½, and disingenuous. Check out this from MoveOn.org: “And in fact, MoveOn.org Political Action is mostly funded by people who give less than $100 ““ folks who don’t have a lot of money but want to see a change.” Stoppit. Every single event at this conference had descriptions like, “Mother Jones Readers Caucus: Connect with like-minded folks and talk with others from your community in our identity, issue and regional caucuses.” Is it just me who sees that word and thinks immediately of the Volkssturm? In any event, what it’s meant to do is remove the possible taint of elitism from left-wing politics, which is fundamentally a good goal, but I wish it didn’t have to happen like a Chinese water torture to words and their meanings.
[An aside: in running around Wikipedia this morning, I discovered this totally fascinating entry that I had been wondering about since I was a kid: It has survived in the English word Dutch, the German words deutsch and Deutschland, the Dutch words Diets and Duits, the Yiddish word taytsh, the Danish word tysk, the Swedish word tyska, the Icelandic word Ã¾jóÃ° “people, nation” and the modern Italian word tedesco “German”. I also found this kind of amazingly edited Wikipedia page on the region “Chhachh” in Punjab. I was actually looking for a recipe for Chhach, which is like buttermilk, but then I typed in an extra h. Scroll down. Also this.]
In my awkward attempts to make friends with these bloggers, I mentioned casually to one of them (who seemed to have a fancy job for a Big Girl newspaper) that I really liked Stanley Fish’s blog at the Times. He was like, “Who’s that.” Now, am I crazy? Do I only know him because he’s from Rhode Island, and Rhode Island is famous for Him? (If anybody dares brave it, Mandy Patinkin has recorded a really scary version of that song with a really out of control arrangement featuring a very out-of-place violin ricochet on the lyric, “Cotton comes from Louisiana.”) Okay but back to Stanley Fish. Don’t you gotta know who he is? I would recommend that everybody either buy or Google Fondle his essay “Speaking in Code” because it seems to me like he figured out a whole bunch of really useful things in 1994. Gonna talk to me about who’s stanley fish. (Muttering to self)