DOTI (downgrading of text initialisms)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 28 21:19:14 UTC 2010

On Sun, Nov 28, 2010 at 7:01 AM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
> her Californian friend invited to come to her house any time if she was in town, so she stopped by when she was. The Californian was put totally out because the invitation to stop by anytime is not an invitation to actually do so, merely an empty social nicety.

That does take getting used to. After I moved to Los Angeles, I very
quickly concluded that everyone there was totally phony. Back in the
'70's, the Boston Phoenix newspaper sent a reporter to see what it was
like in L.A. In his subsequent column, the reporter said the he had
quite quickly buddied up with an Angeleno, only to have the guy just
vanish out of the friendship. When he was finally able to track down
his erstwhile "friend," he naturally asked what happened. The reply:

"Look, man! I don't have time to fuck with the people that I *already* know!"

Los Angeles in a nutshell.

OTOH, this attitude, though usually not so extreme, is "general
American," to coin a phrase. Tudor Ionescu, the TA who actually taught
the course in place of the Harvard Great Name listed in the catalog,
after explaining to the class how one asked, "How are you doing?" in
Rumanian, muttered under his breath,

"In Rumania, when we ask that, we really want to *know*!"

And the American way is nothing new, regardless of race, etc. When I
was a child East Texas in the late '30's, I was accustomed to hearing
conversations like the following:

A. "Hi yew? Pooty good."
B. "Unh-hunh. *Yo'* mama-nim?"
A."Dass nice."
B. "Yay-uh. Sho' 'nuff."

A and B continue on their separate ways, each still totally immersed
in his own thoughts.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

The American Dialect Society -

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