Monday, April 28, 2008

Vapid is as vapid does

From KarenM in comments:

Perhaps it's time for a post about synonyms for vapid?

Good idea! Here's my list:



Anybody else?

Additions from comments (5/9/08):


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Forcing vs. Pouring?

From a diary at Kos by Elsinora... transcript from Dan Froomkin's column

Ashcroft: "Now, listen here. You're comparing apples and oranges, apples and oranges. We don't do anything like what you described."

Elsinora: "I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we still use the method of putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water down their throat. . . . "

Ashcroft: "'Pouring'! 'Pouring'! Did you hear what she said?: 'Putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water on them.' That's not what you said before! Read that again, what you said before [about the Asano case]!"

Elsinora: "'The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach.'"

Ashcroft: "You hear that? You hear it? 'Forced'! If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring. . . . Does this college have an anatomy class?

If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring. . . . "

v 1: cause to run; of liquids
move in large numbers; "people were pouring out
of the theater" [syn: swarm, stream]
3: pour out; of wines or sherry [syn: decant, pour out]
flow in a spurt; of liquids
supply in large amounts or quantities: "We poured
money into the education of our children"
rain heavily; "Put on your rain coat-- it's
pouring outside!"
pelt, stream, rain cats and dogs, rain buckets]

v 1: to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by
physical, moral or intellectual means :"She forced him
to take a job in the city" [syn: coerce, hale, pressure]
2: urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or
[syn: impel]
3: move with force, "He pushed the table into a corner"
[syn: push] [ant: pull]
4: impose or thrust urgently, importunately, or inexorably;
"She forced her diet fads on him" [syn: thrust]
5: squeeze like a wedge into a tight space; "I squeezed
myself into the corner" [syn: wedge, squeeze]
6: force into or from an action or state, either
physically or metaphorically; "She rammed her mind into
focus"; "He drives me mad" [syn: drive, ram]
7: do forcibly; exert force; "Don't force it!"
8: cause to move along the ground by pulling; "draw
a wagon"; "pull a sled" [syn: pull, draw] [ant: push]
9: take by force; "Storm the fort" [syn: storm]

I guess if it will ease Ashcroft's mind semantically, we can agree on using some variation of forcibly pouring, or poured by force. However, the words and phrases emphasized above should have sufficed.

And, perhaps Knox College will, in future, make sure that the distinction between pouring and forcing is added to their anatomy curriculum. [/sarcasm]

Image: "Waterboarding in Vietnam,"
from Stop Torture: the Harvard anti-Torture Coalition

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Elites and Elitism

Time to reclaim these words. They don't really sustain their proper meanings when applied, e.g., to our esteemed Press.

"Elites," as I understand the term, are the cream of the crop, those with expertise to share, and with verifiable discernment. Journalism's true elites are not those who think it is too difficult to do actual research, or that they merely have to present two opposing views, no matter the facts of the case, in order to be objective. Nor do they think that facts have a liberal bias, but rather understand they are simply based in Reality.

"Elites" may or may not belong to the uppermost income brackets. Although they often do, belonging to that bracket does not automatically confer "elitism" on a person; nor should it. Merit also counts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Can someone suggest to Glenn that he find a new word to characterize America's press coverage?

While Glenn's regular use of the adjective "vapid" to describe the writings of the mainstream media is a completely apt descrption, he needs to insert a little variation into his narrative or else he's creating his own google bomb. If you google greenwald vapid, you get about 20,000 hits. An occasional post without "vapid", using instead some equally valid synonym such as "insipid", "pointless", "inane", "lifeless", or "tiresome", probably wouldn't damage the thrust of Glenn's prose and might even make it less predictable and, heaven forbid, "vapid".
On the other hand, perhaps Glenn intends for "vapid" to become a signature word, so that "vapid press coverage" is automatically associated with Greenwald much as Carthago delenda est calls to mind Cato the Elder. If so, he's well on his way.
(Update 4/6/08): Never mind. I've just read Glenn's post on the AP fluff piece on AG Mukasey and there really is no other word for it than vAPid.