"the apocryphal HDAS III"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 5 03:06:44 UTC 2010

Sturgeon's Law: 98% of everything is crap.

m a m

On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 9:23 PM, Alice Faber <faber at haskins.yale.edu> wrote:

> On 8/3/10 6:27 PM, Dave Wilton wrote:
> > There may be a sample bias here.
> >
> > An American is more likely to encounter an English writer who makes their
> living off writing--novelists, essayists, etc., but will typically encounter
> a much broader range of American writers, including business people,
> doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. Creative and witty writing is not
> necessarily rewarded in these other field. (Nor should it be, especially;
> I'd rather have an ironclad contract written in impenetrable jargon than one
> with clauses of dubious legality that is a wonder to read).
> >
> > As to my experience in negotiations, I'd give my American colleagues
> higher marks for wit, creativity, nonconformity, and argumentation any day.
> But then I only dealt with a single British diplomat on a regular basis, so
> I wouldn't judge the entire British diplomatic corps on that one example.
> (I'm not saying he wasn't competent, just not a sterling example of
> rhetorical and literary expertise.) Plus, I knew a bunch of zeroes on the
> American side, too--including one who, in a very late night of negotiations
> lost it and called the Israeli delegate a "liar." (Not the most shining
> moment of American diplomacy.)
> Indeed. Back in the 80s, PBS stations in the US regularly aired various
> British sitcoms. These were much wittier than the comparable American
> comedies. In the winter of 1985 (or so), I went to England for a
> conference at Oxford. One of the things I was looking forward to was a
> chance to see more British sitcoms. Well...then I saw the ones that PBS
> hadn't picked up...All I can say is ouch.
> --
> ========================================================================
> Alice Faber                                       faber at haskins.yale.edu
> Haskins Laboratories                            tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
> New Haven, CT 06511 USA                               fax (203) 865-8963
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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