Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Communiqué from the Committee for the Defence of the English Language

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Citizens, Children and Dogs and Cats--

We would like to announce that, as of midnight tonight, the battle to preserve the word "fulsome" in its stricter sense is to be given up. From that time, it will be possible to lavish as much fulsome praise as you like upon anybody or anything you wish, without being suspected of insincerity or excess. We would like to thank everybody who fought so heroically in this battle, but we have come to the conclusion that further resistance is futile. A twenty-one-gun salute will be fired at a midnight ceremony, a tribute which will not be fulsome at 11:59, but will indeed be fulsome a minute later.

We also formally acknowledge defeat in the struggle to preserve "enormity" as a word meaning "an outrage". There had been no active fighting on this front for some considerable time.

We are, however, resolved to fight until the bitter end in defence of the word "disinterested". We declare that any claim that one's father is disinterested in music, or that an employee was given the sack because she was completely disinterested, will be met with the utmost resistance. This battle must not be lost. Unlike "fulsome" and "enormity"-- words whose lost meanings can be expressed by other words-- there is no real synonym for "disinterested". If it falls, our whole world will be a smaller place, and who knows what distinctions will be next to crumble? Believe us, our defence of this beleagured adjective is anything but disinterested.

Issued on the fifth day of September in the year of Our Lord 2013 by the Committee for the Defence of the English Language.

No comments:

Post a Comment