Lynching redux

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Aug 2 21:24:17 UTC 2005

That was the first lynching I ever heard of that ended with the victim's assuming a place on the U. S. Supreme Court.  I believe, though, that Justice Thomas's juridical opinions are expressed in more subdued language.

Enough said.


"Mullins, Bill" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Mullins, Bill"
Subject: Re: Lynching redux

> Thomas called it a "high-tech lynching". I wouldn't agree he
> was justified in the usage, which I considered to be an
> insult to the memory of all those who were actually lynched
> in the usual low-tech way.

Do you make the general assertion that if a figurative usage is of less
significance than the literal usage, it demeans the literal usage?

If I say, "Laurence, you're killing me with your posts," have I insulted
people who have really been killed?
If the Sierra Club says that the Bush administration is raping the
environment, what about people who've really been raped? Have they got
a legitimate beef with the Sierra Club?

I don't know exactly where I stand on this, I'm just asking you to
expand on your opinion.

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