Full quote: "Boy, I’m stumped on that one. I don’t like to think it’s true, and there’s an element of palpable bitchery there, but...."
Palpate any bitches lately, Steve?
What does "palpable" add? Is it just verbiage — meaningless padding — or is it a way to say that he feels it — he senses it? (It's his truth.) Or does it mean there's some substantial bitchery?
And what's with "bitchery" and "element... of bitchery"? That seems like a way to avoid saying that the woman is a bitch. There's some bitchery in the letter she wrote.
Oh, I see he says he "probably used the wrong word." Probably! Ha ha. And he adds: "Still learning my way around this thing. Mercy, please." Ha ha. This thing seems to be Twitter. Well, I clicked "follow." Use more words, Steve, more words that might be wrong.
I'm moved to look up "palpable" in the Oxford English Dictionary. "That may be touched, felt, or handled; perceptible by the sense of touch; tangible." That supports the theory that King felt the element of bitchery. "I like what one touches, what one tastes. I like rain when it has turned to snow and become palpable." Guess the author. (It's Virginia Woolf, who may or may not have an element of palpable bitchery.)
Another meaning is "Readily perceptible by a sense other than touch; plainly observable; noticeable." That's the idea that King meant that the bitchery is pretty apparent. One of the examples here is Melville's "Moby Dick": "Soon that peculiar odor, sometimes to a great distance given forth by the living sperm whale, was palpable to all the watch."
And this is the most apt meaning: "Of a fact, idea, quality, characteristic, etc.: easily perceived by the mind; manifest, obvious, clear." The best quote here comes from John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1690): "The first and most palpable abuse [of words] is, the using of Words, without clear and distinct Ideas."
Oh, Stephen! Have you used words without clear and distinct ideas?
And I looked up "bitchery" and was rather surprised — palpably surprised! — to find it in the OED. I see it goes back to 1532 for the meaning "Lewdness, harlotry," which is not apt. The relevant meaning is "Malice, vindictiveness, bitchiness," dating back to 1936. Cecil Day-Lewis, "Friendly Tree": "How I hate the Womanly woman and all her bitchery!" (And, yes, Cecil Day-Lewis is related to Daniel Day-Lewis. He's his father. And a Communist.)