"conducive to"

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Wed Apr 23 20:38:34 UTC 2008

on 4/23/08 1:42 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky at zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU wrote:

> in a NYT story today about the Union Park development planned for Las
> Vegas, a quote (p. A14 in the national edition) from Dave Hickey,
> culture critic for Vanity Fair:
> "The idea is that they're going to put in these public buildings and
> this is going to make a respectful downtown for Las Vegas without all
> the glitz and glamour, I guess, but I think it'll be a ghost town,"
> Mr. Hickey said.  "I don't see how the comings and goings will be
> facilitated.  And those open spaces that landscape architects so love
> are not really conducive to the desert climate."
> those open spaces do not make the desert climate likely or possible?
> absolutely not.  it's not that it's backwards: "the desert climate is
> not really conducive to those open spaces" isn't any better.  so it's
> a word choice problem, either a classical malapropism or an
> inadvertent error in lexical retrieval.  but as so often is the case
> with wonky word choices, i'm having troubling thinking of what he
> *should* have said.  maybe "compatible" instead of "conducive" -- and
> once you've selected the adjective you get the preposition ("to") that
> goes along with it.  any better suggestions?
> arnold
I think I'd begin my rewrite with "respectful." Is that really what's meant
here?  Respectful of what?  My guess is "respectable" is really intended
(more dignified than neon-splashed casinos, &c.).  The "not really
conducive" mispick is harder to correct, since the intention is obscure.
"Compatible" doesn't seem to me to work since it contradicts the "not
really" part. Maybe he meant  they weren't really inviting & "seductive" was
lurking in the back of his mind.
Lovely examples of hot air.

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