I was contemplating the US Pledge of Allegiance today and was struck by something odd. The beginning:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America . . .
It is silly to pledge allegiance to a flag, so this is an obvious metonymy for the United States government. But then it continues:
. . . and to the Republic for which it stands . . .
Wait, what? I’m pledging allegiance to the metonym, and to its referent? This makes no sense. I checked the revision history of the pledge, and this twofold distinction has been present since the beginning. Why doesn’t this redundancy sound strange to the hundreds of millions who have recited the pledge? Or is there really a distinction in meaning between the flag and the republic for which it stands that I am missing?
From a recent Language Log post:
If someone tells you that one or more languages have no word for X, or if you find yourself using this figure of speech to make a social or cultural point, you should seek metaphysical treatment immediately.
Share your favorite language’s word for diarrhea there.
Are Christians on the Paleo diet scandalized by the body and blood of Jesus?
Posted in humor
Branded Bibles are the epitome of American capitalism in the modern age. The phenomenon has already gone from tragedy to farce. You cannot really blame the publishers. What better partner for a cross product promotion than God?
So allow me to coin this rule: whenever a concept gets its own branded Bible, that concept is officially mainstream in the American market.
The other night I saw that there is a now a “Green” Bible. It is an edition of the NRSV (of course) which is manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. A new notation system arrives in the form of the green letter edition (“verses and passages that speak to God’s care for creation highlighted in green”).
Yes, “green” as a consumer philosophy has made it big time in America.
Someone proposed a Kickstarter project to replace the “n-word” with “robot” in Huck Finn. The project is in the vein of other recent humorous edits of literature in the public domain, though they claim to have an altruistic goal – to get the redacted version of the story back into the hands of kids everywhere. You can even get your name added as a minor character to the book if you donate enough to the project! Let’s call it “benevolent censorship”. Or maybe “the rape of the public domain.” Actually, best not to describe it at all.
The scope of the project includes comissioning an introduction, altering illustrations, and editing the text. Well, I can help with one part of that. The full text of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is available on Project Gutenberg. I’ve written a short Python script to replace every instance of the n-word with “robot.”
Just run it and then you’ll have a nice txt file of the robot edition. There, now the editing part is done. Can I get my name added as a townsperson?
My wife and I spotted this Valentine’s Day decoration on a neighborhood walk:
Yes, it is the unholy alliance of religion, nationalism, and consumeristic romance.
The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements that signify “cliché” and “etymological fallacy.”
Posted in humor
The Bible is a consumer product. Publishers want you to buy one or more, and they have just the product for you:
Posted in humor