Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Tue Apr 25 02:33:30 UTC 2000

   Several messages a week or so ago dealt with "stupid"  in a
complimentary sense for baseball players   (e.g. "He's stupid against
left-handers," i.e.,  effective against them).

     I have a guess  as to how this use of "stupid" might have arisen.
Suppose someone in a criminal gang is arrested and questioned.  Suppose he
knows a lot but reveals nothing by sticking to his story that he never saw
nothin'  an' don't know nothin'.   Someone who "don't know nothin'" is
usually regarded as stupid,  but in this case the interrogated gang member
is effectively resisting the interrogator.

    This might have carried over into sports, where a pitcher effectively
resists the efforts of a batter to get a hit.

------Gerald Cohen

     >        The current issue of Baseball Weekly quotes a young minor leaguer
>speaking of a team-mate, a pitcher:  "He's stupid against
>left-handers."  The context shows that this is meant to be a
>complimentary remark, and evidently translated into prosaic English
>it means "he's very effective against left-handers".  I've not
>encountered this transvaluation of values before.  Anyone else
>familiar with it?
>        I would guess that it is a development of the idea expressed in the
>baseball use of the word "unconscious": "He's just unconsious right
>now" = "He's playing so extremely well he must be unaware of what he
>is doing, because if he were aware, he would know that what he's
>doing isn't possible."
>        If there is a lexicographer in the house who wants the exact
>citation, let me know.

gcohen at

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