January 23, 2013

"I think Justice Scalia would correct you and say it was a Saint Thomas More hat, rather than a Sir Thomas More hat."

Said Astro in the comments to the post about the hat Scalia wore to the inauguration.

I responded saying that "the truth is that the reason I used 'Sir' is that it was the caption on the Hans Holbein painting," but the comment got me researching what's the right way to refer to More, and Wikipedia's article begins: "Sir Thomas More... known to Catholics as Saint Thomas More...." So, it seems that the failure to say "Saint" is the shibboleth that reveals that I'm not Catholic. In which case, I don't think Scalia would correct me.

Notice my tendency to reinforce my original choice — which involved little thought — with additional reasons. That's the lawyer instinct. What happened happened, and now that I'm challenged, I furiously brainstorm reasons why it was correct. (What's not lawyer-like is to concede that and display it like this.)

Another reinforcement for my choice is, as I wrote in the comments at the first link:
It's a Sir Thomas More hat, that is, a hat that he wore in his role as a knight. There is no "saint hat," or if there is — maybe you get issued a hat in Heaven — it's not that hat.

It's like, say a cowboy died and was later beatified and we had a picture of him in his cowboy hat. Cowboy Bob. If I adopted his hat, it would be a Cowboy Bob hat, not a St. Bob hat.
I'd like to think Justice Scalia would be intrigued by this language usage question, whether the noun hat calls for the modifier Sir rather than Saint — even for those who revere him as a saint — because it's not a saint hat.

ADDED: Astro did a Google images search for "saint hat," with hilarious results. Before clicking on the link try to guess what 3 types of hats come up most often. It's not this:

47 comments:

gerry said...

Wow. May I use Wikipedia as an ultimate verifying source in the future? It would make things very convenient. Heh.

pm317 said...

Notice my tendency to reinforce my original choice — which involved little thought — with additional reasons. That's the lawyer instinct. What happened happened, and now that I'm challenged I furiously brainstorm reasons why it was correct.

Interesting. This explains a lot of your blog behavior (that sometimes, I tend to think why would she even bother (to respond/fight)). It is all trained instinct, now second nature, so it seems.

Archilochus said...

Doubling down on your position is a lawyer's instinct? I thought it was my pride. Or defensiveness as a conservative 3L at NYU. What relief!

Lem said...

That man's a saint, I tell ya!

Bob said...

Maybe if you caught him in church he'd call it a St. Thomas More hat, and elsewhere a Sir Thomas More hat. Separation of church and state, y'know.

Or maybe he'd call it a biretta.

Lem said...

Leave the hat... take the cannoli.

rhhardin said...

I had a marching band hat.

I can't think of any other identifiable one, except today's floppy white sun-shielding hat with a baby monitor atop it, destined to be an at-home programmer hat someday.

The baby monitor relays whatever audio the computer is streaming, and it needs to be on the hat so that it works line-of-sight no matter what yard work you're doing, while keeping the sun off.

Mogget said...

"What happened happened, and now that I'm challenged, I furiously brainstorm reasons why it was correct."

Similar to behaviors with an interesting potential explanation in Haidt's The Righteous Mind. We make many decisions, certainly more important ones than this one, by means of our intuition about a subject. Then, we go looking for the facts to support our intuition.

And to be honest, I noted the same thing and went looking in Wiki and then in a variety of books for the same info.

Astro said...

I'm sticking by my original comment.

OTOH here are some examples of what a 'saint hat' might look like (including the St. / Sir Thomas More hat on Justice Scalia):
saint hat

Darrell said...

The hat's relevance to Sainthood has nothing to do with what we use to identify a particular person. St. Thomas Moore is a unique person. If I wanted to specify past ownership of a house, say, I would say it was St. Thomas Mooore's house. Until that cocksucker Henry VIII took it away.

Eclecticity said...

While we're all at it, let's do some counting on angels dancing on the head of a pin. Whatever. E.

Lem said...

I'm going to go with Saint.

Wikipedia is run by a bunch of heathens.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Notice my tendency to reinforce my original choice — which involved little thought — with additional reasons. That's the lawyer instinct.

It's also the human instinct. So I guess lawyers do have something in common with humans.

Lem said...

How about a poll Althouse?

Or are you afraid there are More with us than against us.

EDH said...

Stupid bitch!

"Blighmey, this wealth redistribution is trickier than I thought."

traditionalguy said...

The next hair needing to be split is time. When he sat for that painting he was still a Sir and not yet elevated in Rome to saint status.

So the painting is of Sir Thomas Moore.Unless Thomas can be deemed a saint by his born again experience which was the only way the Bible's authors used the term prior to the monopoly on that status being taken under Rome's control.

sparrow said...

Wikipedia routinely strips Saints of the their title even if they're primarily or exclusively known as saints. For example, google Saint Francis of Assisi. I've never heard him referred to as simply "Francis of Assisi" except at Wikipedia. It's deliberately insulting but also a revealing.

Pete said...

Lawyerly instincts or just an inability to admit you we're wrong?

BDNYC said...

What? That's idiotic. The word modifies Thomas More, not the hat. The hat is modified by the man. So, yes, the question is whether he should be called Saint or Sir.

Would you make the same silly argument about his boyhood home? "Well, you see, saints do not love in houses, they live in heaven ..."

Freder Frederson said...

It's like, say a cowboy died and was later beatified and we had a picture of him in his cowboy hat. Cowboy Bob. If I adopted his hat, it would be a Cowboy Bob hat, not a St. Bob hat.

Will you at least admit the misuse of "beatified" in this example? Beatification is the penultimate step to sainthood. It takes canonization to be declare a saint. Properly, it would be Blessed, not Saint, Bob.

Lem said...

So the painting is of Sir Thomas Moore.

When I see a picture of Justice Thomas I dont say, oh, thats the former chairmen of the EEOC.

Unless I was wearing a funny hat.

Chaswjd said...

I am not sure that the "Sir" of Sir Thomas More would be correct. After conviction of treason, wouldn't attainder work to deprive him of any honors, including the knighthood?

Paddy O said...

A saint hat is the shiny plate that attaches to the back of the head.

Paddy O said...

"I've never heard him referred to as simply "Francis of Assisi" except at Wikipedia."

I generally hear him referred to as simply "Francis of Assisi." Protestants are very uncomfortable with the saint nomenclature.

Bill R said...

St. Thomas now wears a different hat. It's round, yellow, and glows brightly even in the vast luminescence of the hereafter.

We all hope that Justice Scalia will (many years hence) become St. Anthony and once more join St. Thomas in splendor. Hatly and otherwise.

Vince said...

Sir Thomas More wore a hat. When he was beheaded, he became Saint Thomas More. As he was beheaded, he has no more need for a hat, therefore, it is a Sir Thomas More hat. By the way, before anyone rushes to judgement that I'm not respecting the Catholics and their faith, I'm a Catholic who was in the seminary for four years.

Bruce Hayden said...

The hat's relevance to Sainthood has nothing to do with what we use to identify a particular person. St. Thomas Moore is a unique person. If I wanted to specify past ownership of a house, say, I would say it was St. Thomas Mooore's house. Until that cocksucker Henry VIII took it away.

Except that you presuppose that he is/was a saint, and that premise is not universally accepted. The ability to designate someone as a saint is one of the things that many, if not most, Protestants think is a presumption by the Bishop of Rome. One among several.

But that got me thinking. In my parents' generation (the generation who fought in WWII), there seemed to be a pretty big wall between Protestants and Catholics. To this day, I don't think my 90 year old father has had a close Catholic friend, at least since high school. And, back in high school, there were a couple of scandals where family members thought about marrying Roman Catholics.

Then, we all moved in together as neighbors in suburbia after the war, and you found many of your friends being across that religious divide - except that you mostly didn't think of religion. It was kinda like, this friend is a red head, and that one is blond. You only really saw the differences at weddings and funerals, and didn't see a lot of the former until the end of high school, and many of the latter till decades later. Fast forward 2-3 decades from high school, and all of a sudden, I find that every serious girlfriend of the last 15+ years has been fairly devout Roman Catholic. And, while there was only one Jewish family that far out in the suburbs when I was growing up, I ended up with a number of Jewish friends from living next to them in a fraternity. In the end, religion didn't really impact our friendships (except when it strayed into politics). Fraternity life does that to you.

My kid has gone further. They could only identify the religion of maybe half the kids they went to prep school with, some for a decade or so. They picked up Muslim, Orthodox, and Buddhist friends there and in esp. in college, and doesn't think anything of it.

I think that this melting pot of religion has been a really, really, good thing, but don't expect those of us whose ancestors fought and sometimes died denying that these Papal prerogatives had Biblical support to accept the legitimacy of this sort of Papal action. To me, this is a reminder that there are differences, and is somewhat like going to a Roman Catholic wedding, and remembering, again, that they share the Communion cup with the rest of the congregation. Not something that I would want to do. I will stick with my individual cup, thank you.

Lem said...

I wonder if Wikipedia is so unsolicitous regarding Islamic vip's.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sir Thomas More wore a hat. When he was beheaded, he became Saint Thomas More. As he was beheaded, he has no more need for a hat, therefore, it is a Sir Thomas More hat. By the way, before anyone rushes to judgement that I'm not respecting the Catholics and their faith, I'm a Catholic who was in the seminary for four years.

Except, that I would argue that requiring non-Roman Catholics to accept the decision by the Bishop of Rome that this man was Sainted is expecting them to accept tenets of your religion, one of which is that the man in that position has the power and ability to make such happen. One of the primary points of contention, and really tenets, of the Reformation was he did not, in fact, have that power, or if he did, then every other bishop who could trace his orders back to the Apostles had the same power. Probably more the former though, since most Protestants essentially deny the entire concept of succession. Except maybe Episcopals, many of whom seem to be rejoining the Roman church these days, and maybe some Methodists (based on their often questioned belief that their bishops are legitimate Apostolic successors).

So, I would reverse it, and suggest that requiring Protestants who do not believe in this to conform to Roman Catholic dogma here is failing to respect their religion.

edutcher said...

You don't have to apologize for not being Catholic; you may still see the light.

As for your explanation of the "lawyer instinct", very charming, if I may say...

PS Got the baseball cap right, but I never would have thought of a Santa Claus or green top hat.

Dante said...

Notice my tendency to reinforce my original choice — which involved little thought — with additional reasons. That's the lawyer instinct. What happened happened, and now that I'm challenged, I furiously brainstorm reasons why it was correct. (What's not lawyer-like is to concede that and display it like this.)

My mother and older sister would be great lawyers. It's impossible to have a discussion with them for this very reason.

I think it's a part of human nature, that if people can derail a small supporting fact then somehow they have won the argument. What a shame, because there is no truth-seeking there, only winning.

Perhaps people who like to win in this way are more likely to become lawyers.

Richard Dolan said...

"[I]t's not a saint hat."

But it is a saint's hat, and therein lies all the difference.

Saint Croix said...

I'm not sure who it was (maybe Bill Bennett?) who made the point that the media loves to say Dr. King, as opposed to Rev. King.

His point is how the media loves to place the secular title over the religious title. To the media, it's the more important title.

Little by little, there are some people who want the government to oversee everything. Especially including the church.

So, not a Catholic, but it will be Saint Thomas More from here on out for me.

David said...

St. Spyridon has my favorite hat at Astro's search link. But for this blog and Astro (thanks Astro!) I would never have learned of St. Spyridon. Is this a great blog, or what?!

Lem said...

Take Hillary...

Today she is wearing her secretary (if not her Dodger) hat... if she doesn’t make president that’s what she will be known for, from here on out.

Her first lady hat is dead and gone.

edutcher said...

There is a difference between a Saints hat and a saint's hat.

Skyler said...

Since I'm no longer catholic I am not obliged to call him a saint.

Since I'm not British and have no respect for titles of nobility jam not obliged to call him sir.

It's a Thomas More hat.

Or I could just be polite and call it a saint sir Thomas More hat.

Baron Zemo said...

Thanks for limiting the Catholic bashing to just hats today.

Rabel said...

"Notice my tendency to reinforce my original choice — which involved little thought — with additional reasons. That's the lawyer instinct."

I would have guessed it was the female instinct.

Basta! said...

Leprechauns are saints?

C R Krieger said...

Ann.  You're not?  I am surprised. 

Regards  —  Cliff

Chuck said...

No matter what anybody thinks of Scalia's hat (I thought it was quite natty), the weirdest thing on anyone's head on Inauguration Day was that wig on Michelle Obama's head.

Aarradin said...

Does the Wikipedia entry for Mohammed say, "...known to Muslims as the Prophet Mohammed"?

Aarradin said...

Does the Wikipedia entry for Mohammed say, "...known to Muslims as the Prophet Mohammed"?

Astro said...

Well, I know I've had fun with this. Not the kind where I might laugh my fool head off - so to speak - but fun.
(And yes, in that google array of saint hats there was a guy wearing a cowboy hat. I'm guessing his name was Bob.)

sally said...

I think there really is a lawyer instinct. My mother used to talk about "the lawyer child" (she may have meant me), meaning one who does a lot of reasoned arguing, and I myself have noticed that "making a case", usually against a sibling, is a behavior that develops only a year or two after language itself.

PianoLessons said...

Saint Thomas Moore was executed by an Orwellian tyrant king (Henry VIII) who insisted that he articulate something called the Oath of Supremacy which vowed that the Divine Right of Kings (monarchs get their guidance right from God) would overtake religion - and the religion of Moore's times in England was Catholicism.

He refused to swear the Oath. So did many others after him.....Shakespeare is nothing but the story of those many who swore the oath or did not. This is why Shakespeare is so fascinating.

Someday we will all be able to deconstruct the cottage industry of England (Shakespeare's glory - what malarkey as he was a Catholic recusant insulting the Queen and her insistence on Brits swearing to the Oath - at every turn in his plays - the Laughing Out Loud NOT Golden Age of Elizabeth - the bastard child of Henry VIII who executed Saint Thomas Moore for refusing to swear to the oath)

The anti-Catholic monarchy of England in the 17th century - from Henry VIII and his sad progeny and many wives - are the precursors to Napoleon, Hitler, Leopold of Belgium, Sadam Hussein and many more tyrants who subject their people to swear publicly any kind of oath vowing to give them supremacy over any kind of God.