outlaw?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 12 15:50:07 UTC 2006


No, George, it's an incredibly inept mistake.

  JL

George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: George Thompson
Subject: outlaw?
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Being interested in the issue, I was reading a new book from Wesleyan
UPr called "Same-sex Marriage", edited by Donald J. Cantor and others.

I have given up reading it, since DJ Cantor, at least, (Elizabeth
Cantor is also involved) is an exceedingly inept writer, and there
must be better books on the topic somewhere.

In one of his essays, DJ Cantor makes the point that over the last 40
or so years the states have been giving up trying to control the
private behavior of their citizen. One paragraph notes that in 1960,
40 states had laws against fornication, but now only 16 do. He
observes that fornication thrives as never before, and that "such
activity is occurring in the same volume in the states that outlaw it
as in the states that criminalize it." (p. 12)

Does anyone other than DJ Cantor think that "to outlaw" means "to deem
outside the scope of legal control"? Or does he really mean to say
such activity is occurring in states that are X as well as in states
that are X?

I also think that the rhetorical force of the statement would be
better served if the order were reversed: that fornication is as
popular in the states where it is still a crime as it is in those
pinko secular-humanist liberal states where it is permitted, (and
therefore the laws against it are ineffectual).

But perhaps this is just me.

GAT

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

>

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