the Irish for rights

Interested always, disinterested often, but uninterested never

New York Times logo, via the NYT siteWilliam Safire (NYT bio | wikipedia), a New York Times Magazine columnist on language, has the following vignette in today’s column (sub no longer req’d!):

A Pet Named Peeve

Two cheerful dogs grace our household, but in my imagination we also have a dog named Peeve. He is perpetually grumpy; complains about his dog food, collar is too tight, bed lumpy, not getting enough exercise, all that. What especially gets his hackles to rise is human language he doesn’t understand.

Disinterested puts him off. When he turns his nose up at a bowl of dry kibble and I say, “Whatsamatter, disinterested in eating?” this erudite Portuguese water dog emits a low growl. He and I know that word means “objective, fair, without a partisan slant or pecuniary involvement.” But it is used by writers who mean “uninterested” and allowed to stand, reeking of misuse, undermining clarity, by editors who could (not) care less. I can’t tell you what my pet, Peeve, scornfully does on a newspaper that treats the language with such unrespect.


One Response to “Interested always, disinterested often, but uninterested never”

  1. […] the New York Times last year, William Safire took President Obama to task for using “fulsome” in this way and for other similar […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’m Eoin O’Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie – the Irish for rights.

“Cearta” really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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What I'd like for here is a simple widget that takes the list of feeds from my existing RSS reader and displays it here as a blogroll. Nothing fancy. I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

I had built a blogroll here on my Google Reader RSS subscriptions. Google Reader produced a line of html for each RSS subscription category, each of which I pasted here. So I had a list of my subscriptions as my blogroll, organised by category, which updated whenever I edited Google Reader. Easy peasy. However, with the sad and unnecessary demise of that product, so also went this blogroll. Please take a moment to mourn Google Reader. If there's an RSS reader which provides a line of html for the list of subscriptions, or for each RSS subscription category as Google Reader did, I'd happily use that. So, as I've already begged, I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

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