usingtherightwords

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Rant Wisely or Sound Stupid


Today’s lesson: Careful when you rant. You might just rant your way into saying something wrong.

I read a column online last week (called “I Rant, You Decide”) that attacked  Hillary Clinton’s comment about what we must do as a nation following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium:

“We have been confronting the threat of terrorism for quite some time and with the latest terrible manifestation of it, we’ve got to tighten our security. I’ve talked about a visa system and a passenger name record system. Terrorists are not stupid, military officials have said that techniques like water boarding are not effective. We do not need to resort to torture, but the Europeans are going to need more help. We’ve got to work this through, consistent with our values.”

The columnist wrote, “Your mamby, pamby nonsense about values is going to result in this nation being brought to its knees in a sickened, horrifying way.”

OK, first things first. There’s a comma that shouldn’t be there, but that’s just the editor in me.

Second, isn’t the term actually namby-pamby?

Just to make sure, I checked online and found that, indeed, there is a mammy pamby and a  namby-pamby. The one I know is an adjective that means “weak or indecisive.”

The one I didn’t know is a noun meaning “a person who engages in acts of cowardace, shyness, or stupidity.”

The columnist is on the right track, but he’s wrong. This reminds me of the part of the movie “Porky’s” when the bigoted Tim Cavanaugh (played by Cyril O’Reilly) calls the Jewish character a “kite.”

The Jewish character, Brian Schwartz (Scott Colomby), corrects the bigot by telling him the word is “kike.” Then, after spelling the word, he adds, “You know, you’re too stupid to even be a good bigot.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is out and available on Amazon. Order now for just $14.95. Contact me on my website to reserve your copy or Order here.

leebarnathan.com

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March 28, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. “..sickening, horrifying way.”

    Comment by Dorothy Hoffman | March 28, 2016 | Reply

    • As always, Dorothy, a good catch, although I quoted him exactly. Perhaps I need to include a (sic).

      Comment by usingtherightwords | March 28, 2016 | Reply


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