05 September 2006

REFUTE

Anyone noticed how positively Pooterish Boswell is in his slavish attention to Dr Johnson? No matter; his encounters with Il Dottore are pure bliss.

I've been reading him while queuing for my resident's permit and Greek driving licence and they are gems.

How many of us have dined out chez un pal and thought that,

"This was a good dinner enough, to be sure, but it was not a dinner to ask a man to." LOL.

Refute: doncha hate it when the media use it to mean contradict/disagree with/deny?

Boswell chatted to the master about Bishop Berkeley's sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, that everything in the Universe is merely 'ideal'.

Quoth Boswell: "Tho' we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it."

"I shall never forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it,

'I refute it thus' "

Big words for little matters: The first time I heard 'awesome' misused was in October 1995 when, as a Microserf PR hack, I assured my manager that my 2 minutes' delivery to Bill Gates would include all Visual FoxPro 5's new features plus I would get in my editorial coups with the geeky press.

"That would be awesome," she purred down the 'phone.

Boswell preceded her, just prior to leaving Johnson for Harwich, chiding him that,

"It would be terrible if he should not find a speedy opportunity of returning to London."

"It would not be terrible ," roared Johnson, "Don't, sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.

The practice of using words of disproportionate magnitude, is, no doubt, too frequent everywhere; but I think, most remarkable among the French, of which, all who have travelled in France must have been struck with innumerable instances."

The Frogs get it in the neck once again ...

I reproduce Boswell's punctuation and, with glee, his spelling of 'travelled', for which I suffered much during my sojourn in the colonies.

1 comment :

rwellsrwells said...

"Awesome," possibly the most devalued word in the language. I once asked a Christian what he thought about jesus. The fellow answered, "Jesus is totally awesome." "Oh," goads I, "What do you mean by that?" Says he, "Jesus is really cool." I asked him if he had ever considered trembling before the majesty of the Lord, and he answered quite simply, "No."