This afternoon I met my genius fiancee for lunch at Pie Hole. Pie Hole is the best pizza in Missoula, and you should go there. We took our slices walking, and along the way she set hers on an outdoor table to look at a rack of clearance dresses. When we looked up, some guy was eating her pizza. He was not homeless; he was an ordinary-looking man in his late thirties. I said, “There goes your pizza,” and he said he was sorry. But he also kept eating the slice, adding that it was getting cold anyway. For some reason, I did not knock this man to the ground and kick him in the stomach until he threw up.
Following accusations of racism, Abrams has taken the collection of satirical illustrations Bad Little Children’s Books off the market at the author’s request. The pseudonymous Arthur Gackley maintains that neither he nor his book is prejudiced, but that public outcry has made it impossible to have “the kind of dialogue I hoped to promote.” If that sounds suspiciously high-minded to you, you’ll love his quote in The Guardian:
This act of censorship is dangerous on so many levels, as free speech, satire and parody are tools to help make us a stronger society, not a more divided one.
Totally true re: speech and satire, but I question his use of the phrase “act of censorship.” When you pull your own book because people said you were a jerk for writing it, that’s not censorship. That’s free speech convincing you. I’m kind of surprised it did, though, because the speech used to condemn Bad Little Children’s Books seems like the wrong way to convince anybody. Example after the jump.
One way events in Ferguson, Missouri have affected English usage is by promoting the second sense of “disperse” as a transitive verb. To disperse as an intransitive verb, of course, is to stop demonstrating and go back to your homes. The most common sense of “disperse” as a transitive verb, with an object, is “to distribute or spread over a wide area.” That is precisely what the Missouri National Guard, the state Highway Patrol, and dozens of police with military equipment hope not to do with protests in Ferguson. When they disperse protesters—with tear gas or simply by making it illegal to stand in one place—they do it in the second, less common sense: to “cause to go in different directions.” The protest does not disperse; it gets dispersed, but the word retains a savor of consent.