The Wanderer

"As I walked through the wilderness of this world . . ."

Le mot juste

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I start this recommendation with a lengthy quote so that you can figure out whether or not you really want to read this puppy:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is only a short road that leads from grammatical laxity to cannibalism. At least, it should be universally acknowledged. Human beings are linguistic beings through and through, after all. Because of our miraculous, almost certainly extra-natural capacity for symbolic communication—uttered, written, or mimed—we are the only terrestrial species that possesses a history. Human personality, community, society, and culture are all informed, sustained, and determined by language; everything we are and can be, everything we think and know and believe, is woven from words; even our most immediate sensuous experiences are ultimately mediated to us through concepts shaped by signs.

Hence we must be forever vigilant against this or that apparently harmless solecism that, left to its own vagrant devices, will one day betray us to the forces of chaos, cast open the hallowed gates of Rome to unpaid legions of surly Visigoths, poison the wellsprings of common understanding and civil concord…. Suspect me of exaggeration if you must, but I repeat (albeit with greater aphoristic economy): catachresis breeds anthropophagy. So feel free to ignore your local elementary school teacher’s inability to recognize what form a pronoun should take when it is the object of a preposition, but only if you have no objection to some day being kippered by your neighbor and served up in a chafing dish on his breakfast buffet.

If you and me want to dive in, we can read it all here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 15 September 2012 at 09:05

Posted in While wandering . . .

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One Response

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  1. See also: Cautionary Ghost.

    cath

    Saturday 15 September 2012 at 19:03


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