Mallard Fillmore

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 9 01:50:26 UTC 2010

I'm really not very bright. In my list of blameworthy institutions I left
out the schools.

Perhaps I once mentioned my upper-division students' terrific ignorance
(ca2002) of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam War. But no, I'm not so
naive as to whine about that!  What I do like to whine about is that the
vast majority

a) had to take "American history" in high school, and

b) said course usually ended at 1945, and

c) they never had to take a college-level course in it because . . .

d) since it's required in high school, it ain't necessary in college!!!

But that's just the tip of the old iceberg, so to hell with it.


On Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:28 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Mallard Fillmore
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:41 AM, Jonathan Lighter
> <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> > _neither_ ... _or_
> Jon! I'm shocked! Shocked!!! ;-)
> But, seriously, at UC Davis, when I succumbed to decalcomania and put
> a decalcomania (this latter usage was still possible, even "proper,"
> in the Saint Louis of my youth) of  the Flag in the window of my
> V-Dub. My friends and schoolmates were shocked! shocked!!! that *I* -
> a black guy, after all - would adorn my short with that symbol of the
> Reactionary Right.
> I tried to get them to see that allowing the Reactionary - even this
> good word, once a standard denigration <har! har!> in opposition to
> "Radical Left," is now being applied to the radical, reactionary
> Democrat Party - Right to co-opt *any* national symbol was stupidity
> bordering on reefer madness <har! har!>. But, of course, mine was a
> voice crying in the irrigated desert.
> Davis is such a tiny town that, even in my day, a half-century ago,
> when all of UC Davis amounted to a mere 12,000 souls (today, the
> faculty and staff alone number approx. 12,000), gown-Davis's ass
> *owned* town-Davis's political ass, lock, stock, and barrel. For all
> practical purposes, UC Davis *is* the town of Davis. Indeed, only the
> seat of the state government is of greater importance than UC Davis in
> the greater Sacramento metropolitan area. The Vet School conducts an
> experiment to discover what materials cats the most like to scratch.
> It leads the news on local TV and makes the front page of The
> Sacramento Bee.
> This, IMO, gave the Davis students of my day a greatly-distorted
> picture of their supposed political power that was going to reshape
> the United States and, consequently, the world. Which is not to say
> that I'm under the impression that anything that is/was true of UC
> Davis accounts for *any* aspect of today's national political
> atmosphere.
> Rather, it's just that I wouldn't be me, if I didn't get anecdotal on
> y'all's asses. ;-)
> When I arrived in Cambridge, I was shocked! etc. to discover that the
> Harvard-MIT axis exercises no such control and influence even over
> just Cambridge, let alone the greater Boston metropolitan area.
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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