July 25, 2014

Word watch: pallid.

All of the following occurrences appeared within the last few days:

"The stakes are too high, the disappointment in some quarters — and some Supreme Court chambers — over the pallid outcome of the Supreme Court’s Fisher case too deep, the issue too mobilizing for it to fade away." Linda Greenhouse writing about affirmative action in the NYT.

"The potato farmers of Idaho are, I’m reasonably certain, distressingly pallid in appearance but no one is going around insisting that the French fry industry is going to collapse unless diversity increases there." From a discussion of the lack of racial diversity in Silicon Valley enterprises

"Jamie Dornan (the guy who's playing Christian Grey because they couldn't get Beyoncé) tries to give the pallid prose some weight by pausing significantly before informing us that his tastes are … singular, or telling Anastasia Steele that he'd like … to know more about her." A discussion of the "50 Shades of Grey" trailer in The Atlantic.

"And in the leading roles of Will Shakespeare and his muse and lover, Viola De Lesseps, Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen are so vibrantly engaging that they make Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie look like a pair of pallid milksops." From a Chicago Tribune review of a stage version of "Shakespeare in Love."

"Pallid dudes surrounded by dorm-room décor rhapsodize over their first console and the discovery of game-playing soul mates." A NYT article about a movie about the history of video games. 

"The whole your eyes have known, your pallid cheeks have shown; for oh! the swelling tide no bravest heart could hide, when your dear mother died." Catholic News reports on a riddle poem published pseudonymously by Pope Leo XIII in the 19th century. 

"How I hate the man who talks about the 'brute creation', with an ugly emphasis on brute. Only Christians are capable of it. As for me, I am proud of my close kinship with other animals. I take a jealous pride in my Simian ancestry, I like to think that I was once a magnificent hairy fellow living in the trees and that my frame has come down through geological times via sea jelly and worms and Amphioxus, Fish, Dinosaurs and Apes. Who would exchange these for the pallid couple in the Garden of Eden?" The U.K. Independent published that item from the 1910 diary of the naturalist WNP Barbellion.

"'The long days do wear on you,' says a pallid man named Stephen McMurray who is researching the population dynamics of sponges. He dips a spoon into a cup of instant noodles and looks through a window to the sea floor below." Undersea science at GulfNews.com.

35 comments:

Meade said...

Anything on changing the name to the Washington Palefaces?

Anonymous said...

"..on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.....
Quoeth the Raven, Nevermore.'"

Ann Althouse said...

Were Adam and Eve white?

n.n said...

Ah, another principled man. Barbellion, the evolutionary creationist, embraces his simian heritage. Most people are fanatical in principle, agnostic in polite company, and resentful of explicit or implied correlations.

n.n said...

Adam and Eve started light, but as they aged their spirit darkened, until they reached a dysfunctional convergence, and they were returned to the clay from which they were birthed. Adam and Eve were created in God's image, but they were not God.

robinintn said...

I started to say something about Miss Paltrow and auto correct changed her first name to "Gay etch". That's better than anything I've got.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dammit, LarsPorsena, that was mine.

Meade, that would be my first choice. I mean, it wouldn't match the team, but neither did "Redskins."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I notice that while most of the references have to do with literal "pallor," a couple ("pallid outcome," "pallid prose") are metaphorical. Though Greenhouse might have meant something hyper-ironical wrt "pallid outcome."

Ann Althouse said...

Is it actually that hard to make Gwyneth Paltrow look white?

Revenant said...

I have to roll my eyes when people say that the tech industry lacks diversity, especially when they imply it is an extremely "white" industry.

In reality it is one of the least-white industries this side of professional basketball.

St. George said...

Next up?

Pellucid: Translucently clear

And then...

Pellucidar: Edgar Rice Burroughs' hollow earth teeming with dinosaurs, though neither pale nor transparent.

Will Cate said...

That's really weird.

Bob said...

I understand the favored opposite for "person of color" is "person of pallor."

lemondog said...

The Pallid of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers

Sarah Pallid

Meade, that would be my first choice. I mean, it wouldn't match the team, but neither did "Redskins."

Keep it “Redskins’” and change the logo to a tomato.

Unknown said...

Revenant said...
"I have to roll my eyes when people say that the tech industry lacks diversity, especially when they imply it is an extremely "white" industry.

In reality it is one of the least-white industries"

Oh so true. But for those who worry about workforce diversity, Chinese and Indian engineers classify as white. On the other side of this issue we have the hiring managers who would feel like they had won the jackpot if they had the opportunity to hire large numbers of qualified female and minority engineers.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I have to roll my eyes when people say that the tech industry lacks diversity, especially when they imply it is an extremely "white" industry.

Revenant, haven't you twigged yet? "Minority" doesn't mean "minority" any more; it means "minority other than East Asian, Southeast Asian, Indian Subcontinent, Arab, Central Asian, Persian" ... and I forget the rest. In other words, though, about half of the global population.

Left in the official "minority" category: Blacks; Hispanics (a category that may or may not include Brazilians, which if it's "not" would be a major omission); Native Americans; Aleuts. I don't think Canadian or Australian aborigines count, and neither do NZ Maoris, though generic "Pacific Islanders" do. I think that last is for "Filipinos and Puerto Ricans," with a side link to folks from Guam and other US territories.

(One of these days I want to see a bevy of Japanese and Taiwanese students demand preferences on the grounds that they are so "Pacific Islanders.")

Ron said...

I say I'm not white, I'm a "Person of Pallor"

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Indian engineers haven't been "white" since the Third Reich.

retired said...

Put pallid on the same list with zesty vibrant robust and of course diverse and gay. I am a white man not a person of pallor. J

Ann Althouse said...

A naturalist with a name that compounds a catfish and a cat.

I like that.

Mike said...

White. It's the derogatory remark for which no apologies are ever required. It's not like us people-who-lack-melanin are gonna riot or anything.

traditionalguy said...

A dead body is pallid. Zombies are pallid. Ergo: pallid means the lack of a live spirit in a person's body.

traditionalguy said...

Northern Europeans from behind the glaciers are not pallid, but rather are pink and blonde and red. Our ancestors needed blood circulating fast to deal with Global Cooling in Norway.

Saint Croix said...

You know what I like? Whitewash!

Obama's Whitewash Puppies.

Some kinda Russian Whitewash. (They really don't like white in Russia. It's a snow thing, you wouldn't understand).

Whitewash the movie Some kinda Canadian thriller: Bruce, a down-on-his-luck snowplow operator, accidentally kills a man during a drunken night joyride.

And a black surfer movie. White wash!

There seems to be a racial divide, by the way, with black people going with "white wash" and white people cramming the words together. Whitewash! I'm totally in the white camp with this one. Whitewash! On the other hand, I definitely think it should be white camp and not whitecamp.

Here are the best deals on whitewash paint. That was not my idea, by the way. I think google made money on that.

Here is a whitewashing sale where you can buy "White Washing America" and, also, Tom Sawyer's pants. The fence! The fence! Wow, this is coming together like a whitewash conspiracy or something.

Here's the New York Times on how to whitewash a plague.

Here is Whitewash Laboratories. What do you think they are building in their lab?

Why is the White House white? Because it's a whitewash, that's why.

Hey, at least there's no whitewash on Watergate.

Fernandinande said...

He dips a spoon into a cup of instant noodles and looks through a window to the sea floor below.

He's looking at the sea floor through a window in a cup of noodles?

Lucien said...

Use of "pallid" seems more & more flaccid.

Sunslut7 said...

Pallid is the new 'white' for this years elites-man.

rcommal said...

Where's the OED part?

tim maguire said...

After a while, the alternating use of "pallid" to mean "white" and to mean "boring" starts to seem racist.

nick said...

Adam and Eve were pallid. Civilization was flavourless. Top hats, also, were tiresome. The initials stand for Wilhelm Nero Pilate. "My own life is like a tame rabbit's. If only I had a long tail to lash it in feline rage!"

Bob Boyd said...

Have Brief Case Will travel.....at night.
Wire Pallid
North of Seattle


Have Brief Case Will Travel reads the card of a man.
A knight without color in a savage land.

Wide brim hat, eats only salad,
Sues tanning salons, he's the man they call Pallid.

Pallid, Pallid
White as a bone.
Pallid, Pallid,
Just get a damn phone.

rhhardin said...

Gravitas had a great awakening I think with news mobbing of Cheney as running mate.

southcentralpa said...

Heh. It would've been interesting back in the old days to see if some obscure word that Bill Buckley dredged up for his column briefly went through a surge of use.

The Crack Emcee said...

Blacks didn't make it - won't have staying power,...

The Crack Emcee said...

"Anything on changing the name to the Washington Palefaces?"

Whoa - that's deep,...