'help the genocide'

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sun Aug 17 03:30:30 UTC 2008

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lynne Murphy" <m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK>
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 8:23 PM
Subject: 'help the genocide'

> When human rights supporters have web pages on 'ways to help the
> genocide',
> it can't be a good thing!  Do we think there's any change in meaning here,
> or just bad writing skills?  I'm leaning toward the latter, since the
> first
> line on the first article linked above is "If you want to lend a hand with
> the conflict in Darfur, these organizations may be a place to start."  I
> half-expected some of the organizations listed to be arms dealers.
> I can see how 'help/lend a hand' could come to be interpreted as 'help to
> stop' or 'help the victims of', but one doesn't see similar calls to 'help
> cancer' or 'help AIDS' or even 'help Hurricane Rita'.  Then again, one
> does
> see "Cancer Support"...
> I'm too literal-minded, I guess.    Ooh, should have sent this to the
> Literal-Minded blog.
> Lynne
Consider it sent. I'd've read the sign the same way you did, definitely.
It's the same way I initially react when someone asks if the
aspirin/ibuprofen/acetaminophen "helped your headache" -- if it did, does
that mean my headache is flourishing? And when someone asks, "How's your
headache?" can you say, "It's doing great -- it's killing me"?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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