Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Ain't Necessarily Wrong

"Philip Gove and Dwight MacDonald Brawl" (1961) or
"Boxers" (1881) by Theodore Gericault
In the October 24th edition of the New York Times, Janet Maslin reviews David Skinner's new book, The Story of Ain't, in which Skinner "tells how and why Webster’s Third New International Dictionary was so controversial, focusing on its most famous entry."  Click here to read the review and find out about the animosity between Philip Gove, the dictionary's editor, and Dwight MacDonald, its biggest critic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tannen on Presidentidal Debate Interruptions

"Interrupted Sleep" (1750) by Francois Boucher 
Our old friend Deborah Tannen published an article in The New York Times on October 17th, titled "Would You Please Let Me Finish," that offers some insight into the meaning of all of the interruptions that took place in Tuesday's Presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Here's how the article begins:
“I’m used to being interrupted,” President Obama said Tuesday night in his second debate with Mitt Romney, an event in which each man repeatedly cut in while the other was speaking.

"The debates this year might be most remembered for the frequency (and ferocity) with which the candidates have interrupted each other. Nearly all commenters on the phenomenon seem to assume that it is self-evident when an interruption has occurred and who’s at fault, and that interrupting violates the rules of conversation. But just as conversational styles vary widely by gender, ethnicity, geography, class and age, so do ideas about what constitutes interruptions, and whether and when they are good or bad."

Click here to read the full article.