6 February 2021


(1) Recently, I have declined to enable a comment asserting that the Authorised Version of the genesis of the Biden Romance is "BS"; and offering a different account much less creditable to each of the Bidens. I did not like the mode of expression, nor did I like the degree of certainty claimed for the Non-authorised Version. My wording, in any case, was intended deliberately to distance me from the Authorised Version, partly because it seemed to me to have a rather crafted quality to it. But, at the same time, one of the sources for the Non-authorised account might have been connected to a desire to publicise a book. It seemed to me not irresponsible to sit, rather gingerly, upon a fence.

I have also recently declined to enable a comment referring to Pelosi as a "monstrous old hag". Two reasons among many: (a) Surely, "old hag" is tautologous (rather as if someone were to describe me as a "monstrous old presbyter"); and (b) the suggestion that to be aged is to be self-condemned is a trope which, rather curiously, impresses me less nowadays than it did sixty years ago. Surely, a more 'traddy' tradition is that age brings wisdom? Not, of course, that my wife would would concede that proposition in my own case.

(2) I have been criticised for refering to Ms Pelosi as "silly". My understanding is that she has been a willing supporter of legal permission for Abortion, both in her own country and in wider fields. If this is not true, then I certainly owe her an apology. If it is true, then perhaps I need to explain that, this side of the water, 'silly'  is quite a moderate term of disapproval. We would not, for example, say that Stalin, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, was "silly". I think we tend to use the term for persons who adopt mistaken viewpoints, but about whose subjective sincerity we might not necessarily wish, at least on a particular occasion, to be too cruel. (No need to remind me what the word meant in Middle English.)

In Pelosi's case, her support for a radical philological revolution, eliminating such terms as 'Mother;' and 'Father', must surely qualify her for (the modern English sense of) the word 'silly'. Such an elimination of 'gender' language would create a profound chasm between ourselves, and all earlier Western literature from the Pentateuch and Homer onwards. (I commend a rereading of C S Lewis's On Reading Old Books.) This would affect people far beyond Traddiland.

For example: a male Homosexual couple who adopted children would face complications in describing their families: "Little Johnny has two parents" would be less functional (since having two parents is not yet so unusual as to be remarkable) than simply saying "Johnny has two Dads". Because the former expression would convey less information than the latter. Furthermore ... such toddlers ... when taking their first faltering linguistic steps ... would they be required to distinguish between "Parent Peter" and "Parent Paul", instead of tentatively mouthing "ma-ma" and "pa-pa"?

Does Pelosi have grandchildren? If so, are they required to address her as "Proto-parent-with-ovaries Pelosi"?

I have no qualms about describing an advocate of such philological re-engineering as "silly".


fitzhamilton said...

"Surely, "old hag" is tautologous.." Yes, it's tautological hyperbolic intensification meant to emphasize the specific hag in question's spiritual, ethical and physical desiccation.

Gillineau said...

I'm confident your correspondent used the term 'hag' in reference to the hagfish, otherwise known as a lamprey, which fixes itself to stones via its mouth. 'Lamprey' derives from Late Latin 'lampetra', a combination of 'lambere' (to lick) and 'petra' (rock). Given this more insightful (and *charitable*) reading, one may suppose that the 'old hag' in your correspondent's apparently cheap jibe was nothing of the sort, but a reference to her obdurate Catholicism, sticking as she/ he/ it does to the Church, despite manifestly gaining no nourishment from Its matter.

John the Mad said...

In the great White North of British North America the word silly also has a mild connotation perhaps indicating one who is not really all that responsible for their obvious moral and political degeneracy due to a lack of what Hercule Poirot might call the "little grey cells."

Congresshuman Pelosi strikes me as not entirely stupid. Methinks she is sly, calculating, amoral, and wicked. In my day I worked on political staff in the Canadian House of Commons. I cannot recall any MPs, of any party, who were as dreadful as Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden (and some were not very admirable as persons).

Other than her baptismal certificate (an admittedly indelible mark), for which Parent One and Parent Two can claim the credit, Ms Pelosi would be hard pressed to enter much, if any, evidence to demonstrate she is actually a functioning, believing Catholic. Particular US progressive Catholic bishops who defend her (and Joe Usurper Biden) using the wretched seamless garment argument do not strengthen her case (or Joe's). The souls of millions of dead babies bear silent witness against them.

Grant Milburn said...

For those of us who watched Monty Python sketches in our teens, "silly" is redolent of the whole farcical side of human existence, in which everyone, oneself included, is slightly silly, silly or extremely silly. We see ludicrous situations developing and wish that we could step in like the Python colonel and bring proceedings to an abrupt halt on the grounds that it is all getting too silly. But in the anglophone world, intervention by colonels is not an option.

commenter said...

Behold A Silly Tender Babe

BEHOLD a silly tender Babe,
In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies
Alas! a piteous sight.

The inns are full, no man will yield
This little Pilgrim bed;
But forced He is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud His head.

Despise Him not for lying there,
First what He is inquire;
An orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by Him feed;
Weigh not His mother's poor attire,
Nor Joseph's simple weed.

This stable is a prince's court,
This crib His chair of state;
The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate.

With joy approach, O Christian Wight!
Do homage to thy King;
And highly praise this humble pomp
Which He from heaven doth bring.

Robert Southwell, SJ, martyred at Tyburn,1595.

coradcorloquitur said...

I lament, dear and reverend Father, to disagree with you on the question of your objection to the use of "monstrous old hag" with reference to Speaker Nancy Pelosi---both on linguistic and ethical grounds. As a commenter above rightly points out, the rhetorical trope of tautology in the service of emphasis is not only appropriate in this case but forceful (one of the great uses of rhetorical devices): "old hag" describes the subject in this case to the letter, both because of her age and too-long tenure in the US House of Representatives at the "service" of evil causes (abortion not being the only one). "Old presbyter," on the other hand, is no tautology, as presbyters can be and often are young. As to the use of "silly" with reference to this woman who promotes---openly and constantly---the Herodian killing of the innocent, it strikes me as too mild, its charming English colloquial connotation and its lovely Renaissance use by the great martyr/poet Robert Southwell notwithstanding. "Silly," in this context, also appears to be a trivialization of evil, a contribution to what the insightful philosopher Hannah Arendt referred to as "the banality of evil." Forgive me if I violate in these observations the sense of humor and intellectual irony so rightly valued in this blog, but when we are talking about a public figure who consistently and over her long career has brazenly promoted the obscene immorality of abortion, both at home and abroad, the employment of the rhetorical trope of litotes appears to have the unintended (surely innocent) nurturing of the cultural atmosphere that makes the likes of Mrs. Pelosi and her crusade easily acceptable.