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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Refute," "Repudiate," and What Else?

I think the political virago from Alaska, Sarah Palin, has an interesting appearance.  But from there her merits drop with dizzying sharpness, straight down to nothing, and then lower still, to constant harm.   But I also think that the people who are disposed to come down hard on her are barking up a very insignificant tree in their latest attacks.  During one of her verbal assaults the other day on the people in the White House, which are a big part of her bread and butter, I am dead certain that she couldn't find the word she was looking for, which had to have been "repudiate."   The best she could get her rubbery lips to push out instead was a word that few had heard before, except in kindergartens: "refudiate."   Her mind was obviously taking a grab at the word "refute," but she couldn't quite think of that in time either.  

That was an ordinary difficulty that happens all the time when using a difficult language, which English is.   But because journalism is only loosely connected with language usage, the news reports that I read all focused entirely on her use of the letter "F" and not at all on the missing letter, "P."

Instead of being discomfited, I guess Palin thought her new word was cute, and she then defended it by saying that people like Shakespeare also coined new words all the time, which is true.

I hope that it's not too much to hope for that her word will not become part of the language, because there's no real need for it.   "Repudiate" already does the job, and has been doing so for a long time.  And meanwhile there's no need to drag "refute" through the linguistic swamp anymore than it already has.

I learned the word "refute" and its correct usage by reading the works of those who most often use it, outside of poorly educated journalists and a few others, and that is in the world of chess.

In chess, to refute something, such as a sacrifice or a conception, means to prove that the sacrifice or whatever is wrong, by means of a counterstroke of some kind.   "Refute" does not mean merely to say that something is wrong.  It means instead to demonstrate beyond all doubt that the concept is faulty.   But instead people who have never had the good fortune to learn chess cheerfully misuse "refute" all the time, in the sense of charging that something is wrong or inappropriate instead of showing that it is so.

It's surprising meanwhile that Sarah Palin could not think of the word "repudiate."  Without giving any reasons why, because there are none that make any sense,  the people on the dark side of American life are forever demanding that the good people in the country repudiate, that is, drop their beneficial beliefs and policies, in favor of the hideous, destructive ones that are espoused by Palin and her comrades in crime.  And what gets me is that they seem to think that people are supposed to heed them, with no questions asked, when these Palinists are obviously products of the backside of the Moon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what if Palin made up a word at the last second. Your claims that Palin is anti-American is beyond ignorant. She isn't asking people to change their beliefs. She wants people to stand up for what they believe. You have the right to believe that Obama's push for socialism is what America needs. While the majority of educated American understand how destructive that is to our way of life & liberty.

2:18 PM  

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