A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Earlier this week, I discussed my ineptitude with language. Apparently, I was channeling my old writing teacher when I wrote that, because Dr. Zinfon’s classic advice of “show, don’t tell” overwhelmed me, and I managed to demonstrate just how little I know.

First, I said that both German and Russian are derived from Latin. What I should have said was that they have elements derived from Latin, and the example — “kaiser” and “czar,” both from “Caesar” — is but one example.

I also said that Hebrew and Arabic were related as Semitic languages. But once again I over-drove my headlights when I said both came from Aramaic. That now largely dead language is indeed related to both, but not the source.

Finally, I’m gonna have to reconsider some of my conclusions on this story. I still think that what Stoughton’s town manager, Mark Stankiewicz, did was very courageous and principled, and still admire what he did.

But as a few commenters pointed out (including Pennywit, my former colleague and too-absent sparring partner) that it really wasn’t the place of a single official to make an official statement on behalf of the entire town. I think it would be great if Stoughton (or any town) were to make such a gesture, but it ought to be done properly, through channels. I think I fell into the classic trap of “if it pisses off the right people, it must be a good thing.” And when I saw how bent out of shape the Stoughton No Place For Hate Committee got over it, I let that override my own reason.

I still stick by my judgment of Mr. Stankiewicz, however. He’s definitely too good a guy to be shackled with those asshats.

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One Response

  1. epador February 11, 2006