[Ads-l] Let's eat grandpa: why punctuation isn't a matter of life and

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Mon Mar 20 11:38:39 EDT 2017


"not a blind bit of difference" -- see GDoS: "blind adj.2 ... 2. a negative
intensifier, e.g. not a blind bit of use, not a blind word, not take a blind bit
of notice."

The citations given, from 1908 on, are all UK with one Australian outlier, so
presumably a horse which doesn't run in the States.  

Probably, though JG doesn't state this explicitly, a euphemism for "bloody",
which also appears in similar contexts as a lexical intensifier.  As e.g.,
"Let's not have a whimper, / Let's have a bloody good cry (since it's the rich
who get the pleasure / And the poor who get the blame)."

I have to say that I find the passage from Truss that you quote not so much
offensive as mind-bogglingly trivial, concealing ignorance under a pretense of
humour.   But then, I'm not Irish ...  

Not getting at you, James, more snarling at your source.  But if it's at all
characteristic of the normal standard of her writing, it rather confirms me in
my existing presumption.  Nothing yet written about her book, that I've read,
encourages me to bother even dipping into it.

Robin

> 
>     On 20 March 2017 at 14:45 "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
> wrote:
> 
> 
>     On Fri Mar 17 18:25:10 EDT 2017 Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at
> VIRGINMEDIA.COM wrote:
> 
>     > I seriously doubt whether the presence or absence of a comma would have
>     > made a
>     >blind bit of difference to the result of the Casement trial. The
>     >government of
>     >the day was out to get Casement, and the selective leaking of heavily
>     >doctored
>     >portions of the so-called Black Diaries had managed to turn the English
>     >public
>     >against him. Even Joseph Conrad, who had admired Casement's work in the
>     >Congo
>     >and gave him a short, if unnamed, part in _Heart of Darkness_, as one of
>     >the few
>     >sympathetic white characters there, turned against Casement and argued
>     >against a
>     >pardon.
>     >
>     >"The ghost of Roger Casement / Is knocking at the door."
> 
>     I believe you are right. Note that I specified "according to legend".
> 
>     Truss page 99 also says "It is sometimes said, for instance, that Sir
> Roger Casement (1864-1916, the Irish would-be insurrectionist, was actually
> "hanged on a comma", which you have to admit sounds like a bit of very rough
> justice, though jolly intriguing. How do you get hanged on a comma, exactly?
> Doesn't the rope keep slipping off?...Casement was arrested and charged under
> the Treason Act of 1351, whereupon his defense counsel opted to argue a point
> of punctuation---which is the last refuge of the scoundrel, of course, but
> never mind, you can't blame the chap, it must have seemed worth a go..."
> 
>     "blind bit of difference"??
> 
>     - Jim Landau
> 
> 
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