figurative masturbation, once again

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Jun 16 17:39:24 UTC 2004

back in september 2002 i took part in a discussion here of figurative
uses of "masturbation", including "mental masturbation".  here's a
recent cite, complete with the diminisher "just":

Harper's Magazine, July 2004, "The Boys in the Bubble" (pp. 28-31), an
excerpt from "a memo sent in March by a Pentagon adviser posted in
Iraq.  The names of the memo's author and recipient were redacted,
along with those of other officials..." (p. 28).  On p. 31 we find:

   "Our failure to promote accountability has hurt us.  The interim
constitution is just an exercise in CPA masturbation if it is not

[i assume that someone is already on the trail of
"redacted"/"redaction" for this sort of editing by blacking or cutting
out material.]

arnold (zwicky at

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