Eggheads' Naughty Word Games

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Dec 28 05:31:30 UTC 2004

On Dec 27, 2004, at 7:02 PM, Grant Barrett wrote:

> Arnold,
> You probably don't know this, but Strausbaugh more often writes for the
> alternative-alternative weekly, New York Press, here in New York City.
> He's a crank import from Baltimore--

i have some fondness for the city of baltimore, and would certainly
never hold being from there against someone.  "import" i don't care
about; "crank" i do.

> the classic uncompassionate
> conservative with about as much goodwill and charisma as can fit in a
> skeeter sphincter.

now, that is *harsh*, but admirably phrased.  i see that i might have
been too nice on the guy; it would not be the first time.  (i have
fought all my life against my tendency towards pervasive niceness,
fairness, and decency.)  though i did think i deprecated his crap,
however subtly.

>  His M.O. is, typically, to take any view which
> opposes what he perceives as the traditional Village Voice editorial
> stance.

somehow the expression "knee-jerk" leaps to mind. in any case, the
article was written pretty much on autopilot.

>  He writes about sports sometimes, too, because he thinks it
> makes him more likeable. It doesn't.

there are sports writers i will read or listen to, but not because i'm
interested in sports -- i'm a fag who rates close to zero on any
jock-interest scale you could imagine -- but because i admire keen
thought and style, and sports writing is as likely to produce admirable
examples of this as any other kind of writing.  (there was a moment
many years ago when almost everyone i knew said, omigod, i just spent
half a day reading what john mcphee has to say about *oranges*.)  but
the idea that someone would think that writing about sports would make
him more likeable in itself is ridiculous.  look, i'm seriously into
men, but i'm not going to find a guy likeable just because he, say,
scratches his balls in public.

> You practice your two-step, I'll bring the coffee table.

the gentlemen with the melons...

arnold (zwicky at

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