Monday, October 24, 2016

Bingo with UN jargon

A typical UN meeting would be a two-hour "After Action Review" or "Impact Indicator Breakout Session." We'd play UN  Bullshit Bingo, betting packs of cigarettes on how many times these phrases would be said.

"I call 'strategic objectives' and 'reach a consensus,'" someone would say on the way to a meeting. "Fine, but I get 'humanitarian architecture' and 'accountability mechanism,'" someone else would say. Another voice would chime in from the back of the Land Cruiser: "I won on 'performance framework' last time—I'm gonna ride that horse again."
Jessica Alexander, Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid (New York: Broadway Books, 2013), p.  104.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Canimorphizing people

If attributing human qualities to a dog is anthropomorphizing, then what do you call applying canine qualities to a person? Canimorphizing will do for now.
"If you were a dog, what do you think you would be?" Julia stuffed a large piece of cake into her mouth. "I don't know." Jackson shrugged. " A Labrador maybe?" and they had both, in unison, shouted, "No!" incredulously, as if he were insane even to contemplate being a Labrador. "You are so not a Labrador, Jackson," Julia said, "Labradors are pedestrian."

"Chocolate Labs aren't so bad," Amelia said. "It's the yellow ones that are. . . tedious."

"Chocolate Labradors." Julia laughed. "I always think you should be able to eat them."

"I think Mr. Brodie is an English pointer," Amelia said decisively.

. . .

"I don't think so," Julia said, after having mulled over the dog question (did they ever agree about anything?). "No, not a pointer. And certainly not an English one. Perhaps an Old Danish pointer. . . . But you know, Milly, I think Mr. Brodie is a German shepherd. You can just tell he would drag you out of a burning building or a river in flood. He would save you!"
Kate Atkinson, Case Histories (New York: Little Brown & Co., 2004), pp. 158-59.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hurrah for amateur orchestras

What pity that there are not more good amateur orchestras in this country today! Of course, the public school orchestras all over the country are doing a wonderful work, but unfortunately their players are confined wholly to students.
Herbert L. Clarke, How I Became a Cornetist (orig. pub. 1934; reprinted in 2011 by, ch. 1.