December 22, 2007

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked..."

Oh, really? You saw them naked? Come on, Allen. Don't tell us that somehow you "figuratively" saw them. You said you saw them, and either you saw them or you didn't. Facts are stubborn things.

Nah, nah, he said it and it wasn't true. Or oops, maybe it was true.


Skeptical said...

You're not suggesting that the propriety of wondering whether a political candidate is telling the literal truth about what seems to be a claim about his past is on a par with wondering whether a poet is uttering a literal truth in a proposition in a poem? Since that would be absurd, there must be some other point. What is it?

peter hoh said...

Skeptical, it all depends on what the meaning of "truth." Or "literal." Or "or."

Seriously, Skeptical, I don't think Althouse swoons over the poetic utterances of Mitt the way Kathryn Jean Lopez does.

rhhardin said...

Literally, even in the dictionary, means figuratively.

That comes from using literally figuratively, saying ``of such a degree that you'd be justified in calling it literally true,'' in effect. Any word can be used figuratively, and literally is no exception.

It's a good drill for use-and-mention fans and logicians.

Stark raving naked comes from Lear, probably. Poor Tom's a-cold. That makes it figurative again.

Fen said...

Isn't that line from West Wing? From the Poet that Toby is "handling", the one who insists on turning her award ceremony into some sermon about land mines?

Or did West Wing steal it from someone else?

o said...

Ginsberg, libertine of libertines, most certainly did see with his own eyes said nakedness. The comparison thus could not be more inapt.

peter hoh said...

Hewitt is sounding pretty lame. If you can't argue the facts, blame the media for asking questions.

Blake said...

I saw the best meals of my generation
destroyed by the madness of my brother.
My soul carved in slices
by spikey-haired demons.

(Lisa Simpson)

From Inwood said...

Then there's the NYT's MoDo who passed that D. C. area Mormon Temple every day as a child tho it was not built 'til she was 22. Nevermind.

From Inwood said...


Standards, please.

"When used for ‘figuratively’, where ‘figuratively’ would not ordinarily be used, ‘literally’ is distorted beyond recognition: 'Mr. Gladstone had sat ‘literally’ glued to the Treasury Bench.' Because we know that it is a metaphor, simply say: 'Mr. Gladstone had sat glued to the Treasury Bench.' "

"A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage", Garner

How about: “I did not ‘literally’ have sex with that woman!”

Trooper York said...

Who would want to see Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, and William O Douglas naked?

Trooper York said...

Oh wait my mistake. He saw Marcel Marceau, Shields and Yarnell all naked. It was the finest mimes of his generation. What a relief. Cause you know that Lorene Yarnell was pretty hot. I loved the bit where she pretended she was locked in her box. It was the original concept that they stole for the vagina monologues.

Skeptical said...

Or the They Might Be Giants variation:

I saw the worst bands of my generation/
Applied by magic marker to drywall

Blake said...

Actually, Inwood, I think she said she passed it as a "kid".

When I was a kid, we used to drive on the Beltway past the big Mormon temple outside Washington.

People refer to their younger selves as "kid" all the time. Nothing about every day in that quote.

I can't guarantee that she didn't envision herself as a grade-schooler, of course, but I don't think it's much of a deal.

yclipse said...

I am old enough to remember Ronald Reagan's malapropism:

"Facts are stupid things."

Yes, even the Great Communicator let his tongue stumble once in a while.

Carl said...

Lame, Ann. Lamer than lame, Ann.

What's next? A dissection of Shakespeare's sonnets to prove WMDs were in Iraq?

Fen said...

Detective Carl: "We cleared the house. Lots of beakers and bunsen burners, precursor chemicals, recipes for Meth, but no actual drugs. The neighborhood is safe..."

/Liberal Illogic: WMDs VS WMD Programs, p128

From Inwood said...


Re MoDo's, um, kidding us, you say that you

"don't think it's much of a deal."

And as if to disprove your point you make a "deal" out of the fact that MoDo didn't say "every day", though you neglect to note that I did not put that phrase in quotes.

OK, big deal, small deal, here's the deal as applied to politics. Rule No. 1: When your anti-hero is caught with unfacts, first deny & then minimize. When your enemy is caught with unfacts, rush to judgment & then magnify.

Works for Left & Right, Dems & GOP, & for centrists to explain away their eventual vote for either the always-flawed Dem or GOP candidate.

And it is tried by those who want to destroy another's apt comparison. Don't try to kid us.

From Inwood said...


In my previous comment "anti-hero" should've been "hero" & "enemy", "anti-hero".

No big deal, tho, I kid you not.


From Inwood said...


You say about MoDo, who was 22 when the temple was built,

"Actually, Inwood, I think she said she passed it as a "kid" " &(don't want to put words in your mouth), thus her claim was not really untrue since "People refer to their younger selves as 'kid' all the time."

Um, Clintonista apologists told me that tho Monica L., "hysterical naked", well maybe a thong, was barely one & twenty, she was a woman. Ergo, MoDo, at 22 was not a "kid".

But, hey no big deal; depends on your definition of "kid" & depends on whether you want to maximize or minimize.

Blake said...

From Inwood,

Wow. So, what, you feel strongly about this?

Blake said...

You know, you poured so much I feel like I should respond with something more substantial.

I mean, you do see that someone who's 50 might refer to themselves as a "kid" for times in their 20s, right?

Say it weren't MoDo and some 55yo referred to his or her time in college as a kid, that wouldn't be so outrageous, would it?

You can still discredit her for this or anything else you like, I'm just curious from the standpoint of communication.

From Inwood said...


At the risk of being accused of pouring it on, & at the greater risk of prolonging this thread with an unnecessary explanation of why I made a comparison of the reaction to Romney & the silence about MoDo on the part of the MSM, here goes.

We’re offended by people who feel compelled to bolster the authenticity of their observations by citing some thing in their own experience & then take such experience up a notch to incorporate something that never, shall we say, happened the way they claim it did. Politicians are especially prone to this as are fabulists posing as news reporters & commentators. To get away from the political, let me suggest you read Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies or Neal Gabler’s bio of Walter Winchell for an understanding of MoDo’s, um, breezy approach to what some think is an important area.

BTW, MoDo still writes like a gushy school girl on the HS paper describing last Weekend’s hi-jinks, so maybe she’s still entitled at age 55 or so to the designation of “kid”. As long as she’s not servicing Slick Willie’s willie, that is.