the purpose of cavalry

James Landau jjjrlandau at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Mar 1 03:31:30 UTC 2006

 Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:

> I know of at least one variant that is commonly found on military
posters, mugs,
> etc. that reads "Artillery lends dignity to what otherwise would be a
> vulgar brawl."
>in response to my quoting
> "A cadet at a well-known military academy is
> taking an exam and finds the question "What is the purpose of
> cavalry?" He  answers "The purpose of cavalry is to add a note of drama
to an otherwise
> disgusting display of human behavior."

I found your version on the Internet, although with the word "cavalry"
instead of "artillery".  It was a quote from a World War II cavalryman, of

I'm afraid that even a reactionary militarist like me sees a significant
difference between the two versions.  In your version the speaker does not
express a disapproval of violence or warfare but rather implies there is an
esthetic of combat, ranging from,  wel0,l vulgar to dignified.  In the
version I cite, the speaker (well, writer) is making a thoughtful comment
on warfare in general, saying that it is invariably "disgusting" amd that
cavalry merely adds a superficial glamour to it.

          - James A. Landau

PS:  the person who made the comment a couple of days ago about the
possibility of encountering the given name "Medea" should be forced to sit
through three back-to-back showings of "Madea's Family Reunion" (which my
wife just dragged me to).

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list