THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE THE DOTS.

A remarkable report (by Mark Liberman at the Log) on the appearance in a New South Wales court of a soi-disant “plenipotentiary judge” on behalf of an applicant; after much dispute over his right to appear, he provides his “pertinent information,” which follows:

The paperwork in this case goes back twelve years, as you well know, and I saw the file brought in, it’s about four inches thick. The syntax, and I am the judge in 1988 who wrote the mathematical interface on all 5,000 languages proving that language is a linear equation in algebra certifying that all words have 900 definitions through this mathematical algebraic formula and over the course of the past 21 years have developed an accuracy level in the syntaxing of language sentence structure to prove the correct sentence structure communication syntax language is required in a court system.
Now, the seal behind you which advertises the Crown’s seal and jurisdiction of this court uses the correct syntax. That is why you have the dots. Now, the dots between the words are prepositional phrases. There’s only two places where dots as allowed as a syntax prepositional phrase to certify the value of each word and that is on money, coinage and on seals. When you created, when your Government created the seal they used the correct sentence structure, they used the correct syntax and they are advertising that you have the correct syntax and knowledge of it.

I have looked at the paperwork for the past twelve years and both the doctor and the State in one hundred percent of every single sentence you have got in that folder is modified with adverbs and adjectives and there is not one legal sentence or a prepositional phrase to certify the value of any word so, therefore, the facts of the case have been have been muddled since this case started twelve years ago. The necessity of having the accuracy of a fact in a court, if you are not in a fact you have not committed perjury. And Bernie Madhoff, who you would know has just walked away from Wall Street with $69 billion, was prosecuted under the fictitious conveyance of language of title 18.1001.
Now, this law, title 18.1001, is required on all 250 countries’ passports. In other words, fraudulent conveyance. The title 15 chapter 2(b) section 78FF carries a $25 million fine to modify language to extort money from a private citizen from a corporation. This gentleman represents corporation and every single document he has filed has been modified with adverbs and adjectives. So if you are going to modify a fact and change it to something that is not what the true definition of that word is you have got a babble of information in front of you. Now, I know that when we communicate, you and I – you’ve got a mess.

The seal with its prepositional dots is reproduced at Mark’s Log post, as are the exciting preliminaries to the testimony. As for the babble of information: in Mark’s words, you’re on your own.

Comments

  1. There’s only two places where dots as allowed as a syntax prepositional phrase to certify the value of each word and that is on money, coinage and on seals.
    Three! Three places!

  2. There’s only two places where dots as allowed as a syntax prepositional phrase to certify the value of each word and that is on money, coinage and on seals.
    Three! Three places!

  3. And his almost fanatical dedication to the Pope.

  4. “There’s only two places ”
    He may be quite the expert on syntax, but morphology….not so much.

  5. John Emerson says:

    Oulipo? Breton?

  6. Dots why you have the dots.

  7. Jim: It’s not uncommon for a dummy there subject to take a uniformly singular verb rather than agreeing with the underlying subject, and even people who would avoid writing there is in such situations often say there’s. I certainly am one of them.

  8. Three! Three places!
    That was my initial reaction, too, but then I realized that “coinage” could be regarded as a parenthetical explanation/refinement of “money,” so that there are in effect only two items. But anything that makes for a Spanish Inquisition allusion is fine by me.

  9. And yes, it’s perfectly normal to say “there’s two.”

  10. I realized that “coinage” could be regarded as a parenthetical explanation/refinement of “money,”
    Yeah, I know. In fact, I thought it was quite cruel of the transcriber not to write “and that is on money–coinage–and on seals.”
    I don’t know why the Australians put dots on seals. Maybe it’s because they eat penguins. That’s the seals… oh, never mind.

  11. I realized that “coinage” could be regarded as a parenthetical explanation/refinement of “money,”
    Yeah, I know. In fact, I thought it was quite cruel of the transcriber not to write “and that is on money–coinage–and on seals.”
    I don’t know why the Australians put dots on seals. Maybe it’s because they eat penguins. That’s the seals… oh, never mind.

  12. Kári Tulinius says:

    This reminds of this article about how some Baltimore drug dealers used weird legal theories as a defense. Here’s an excerpt:

    A few minutes after 10 a.m., United States District Court Judge Andre M. Davis took his seat and began his introductory remarks. Suddenly, the leader of the defendants, Willie Mitchell, a short, unremarkable looking twenty-eight-yearold with close-cropped hair, leapt from his chair, grabbed a microphone, and launched into a bizarre soliloquy.

    “I am not a defendant,” Mitchell declared. “I do not have attorneys.” The court “lacks territorial jurisdiction over me,” he argued, to the amazement of his lawyers. To support these contentions, he cited decades-old acts of Congress involving the abandonment of the gold standard and the creation of the Federal Reserve. Judge Davis, a Baltimore-born African American in his late fifties, tried to interrupt. “I object,” Mitchell repeated robotically. Shelly Martin and Shelton Harris followed Mitchell to the microphone, giving the same speech verbatim. Their attorneys tried to intervene, but when Harris’s lawyer leaned over to speak to him, Harris shoved him away.
    Judge Davis ordered the three defendants to be removed from the court, and turned to Gardner, who had, until then, remained quiet. But Gardner, too, intoned the same strange speech. “I am Shawn Earl Gardner, live man, flesh and blood,” he proclaimed. Every time the judge referred to him as “the defendant” or “Mr. Gardner,” Gardner automatically interrupted: “My name is Shawn Earl Gardner, sir.” Davis tried to explain to Gardner that his behavior was putting his chances of acquittal or leniency at risk. “Don’t throw your life away,” Davis pleaded. But Gardner wouldn’t stop. Judge Davis concluded the hearing, determined to find out what was going on.

  13. I’m familiar with the weird legal theories used by misguided/loony types in US courts (they often involve “admiralty flags”), but this was a whole new world of looniness.

  14. John Emerson says:

    At least Mr. Soane realizes that, as Hat’s Australian consul, he is responsible for everything Aussies ever do.
    Or Norwegians.

  15. Almost all commenters so far have taken the grammar of Mr. DM for granted, and have looked for sense in what he said, or else dismissed it as senseless. But everyone seems to assume that DM is trying to say something. This is the cross that sensible people have to bear, sez Luhmann.
    DM’s speech flows along quite nicely, like any kind of speech. It reminds me of Chomsky’s Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. At that WiPe link, there is a section entitled “Attempts at meaningful interpretations”. On the related topic of quadruplicity drinking procrastination, Quine found a a different kind of sense:

    The philosopher Bertrand Russell used the sentence “Quadruplicity drinks procrastination” to make a similar point; W.V. Quine took issue with him on the grounds that for a sentence to be false is nothing more than for it not to be true; and since quadruplicity doesn’t drink anything, the sentence is simply false, not meaningless.

    Luhmann, in Soziale Systeme, discusses the fact that there is no escape from sense – even nonsense unavoidably makes sense, namely as nonsense. Edward Lear had a cottage industry producing it. Here is a bit of Luhmann that I translated:

    Sense always refers to sense. It can never refer to something outside the domain of sense…. Systems that are tied to sense can never have a senseless experience, or act senselessly. … [But] a preference for sense over world, for order over disturbance, for information over noise is merely a preference. It doesn’t make their counterparts superfluous. Indeed we can say that the process that is sense (Sinnprozess) thrives on disturbances, feeds off disorder, and is supported by noise.
    .. The generalisation called “sense” makes it possible to find a pragmatic solution for any logical problem. Even a contradiction, even a paradox, makes sense – as a contradiction, as a paradox.
    (Auch ein Widerspruch, auch eine Paradoxie hat Sinn.) Logic can exist only because this is the case. Otherwise, at the first contradiction we encountered, we would fall into a sense-hole and vanish.

  16. There. Are. Four. Dots.

  17. DM’s speech flows along quite nicely
    Yes, in fact I may have to use it as an exhibit if I ever get around to writing my book on language and how to quit sniping at other people’s use of it. It’s not “mistakes in English” that harm communication; here’s some nice clean English that communicates nothing except (as Luhmann says) nonsense.

  18. As for the babble of information: in Mark’s words, you’re on your own.
    Help is on the way. “Babble” is entry #7 in the Quantum Dictionary on DM’s own website.
    they often involve “admiralty flags”
    Miller makes his way, via his finding that maritime law applies worldwide because “Earth is a vessel in a sea of space,” The utility in this is that unless your name is spelled with punctuation, which turns the adjective-adjective-pronoun sequence into nouns, you do not legally exist and do not have to pay taxes. For $200 Mr. Miller will explain this in court for you. Now is this “nonsense”?
    Miller says his name is spelled :David-Wynn: Miller, pronounced “David hyphen Wynn full colon Miller”. A certain Ed Dick used this defense (unsuccessfully) in court when he was charged with failing to provide income tax returns, and was able to get the court to spell his name Edward: Dick. I can only imagine this would be pronounced “Edward full colon dick”.

  19. marie-lucie says:

    DM’s speech flows along quite nicely
    It does in the transcript, but on DM’s Wikipedia page (accessible through the link at the end of Mark Liberman’s post) there are samples of DM’s invented language overwhelmed with hyphens, equal signs, colons, etc which make his prose much harder to deal with.

  20. A certain Ed Dick
    Eddik is the Norwegian for vinegar.

  21. A certain Ed Dick
    Eddik is the Norwegian for vinegar.

  22. SnowLeopard says:

    For some reason these are common in employment litigation. A particular favorite accused my client of conspiring with the US government to conduct unauthorized medical experiments on her that induced both psychic powers and osteoporosis. In addition to seeking $50 trillion in damages, she wanted the judge to order my client to dismantle the “electromagnetic devices” it used to monitor her thoughts. One of her books devoted a considerable amount of space to her theory about the secret 27th letter of the English alphabet and its cosmic implications. Unfortunately I had some difficulty following her argument and so cannot do it justice here. In any event, I persuaded the judge to dismiss the claim because it was filed outside the time prescribed by the statute of limitations.

  23. So she only lost on a technicality, huh. I’d have given her the fifty trillion.

  24. So she only lost on a technicality, huh. I’d have given her the fifty trillion.

  25. Bill Walderman says:

    There’s another side to this. I have a close friend who’s a paranoid schizophrenic. Medication keeps him from uttering the sort of word salad that David Miller does, but the disease is devastating and heartbreaking. My friend has very impressive academic credentials (which he acquired before the disease manifested itself in full force), but he has spent most of his life completely unable to work and in poverty. He now lives in a group home. He is constantly in a state of emotional turmoil, reliving unpleasant experiences that happened thirty or forty years ago, and he can’t go outside without experiencing the sensation (which in some way he seems to know is an illusion caused by his illness) that his environment is full of sinister and threatening messages directed at him.

  26. Yes, I know a paranoid schizophrenic too, and for that reason I can’t find the mind-control form of nonsense very funny. But dots as prepositional phrases I can still chuckle at.

  27. I have a close friend who’s a paranoid schizophrenic.
    That is just the kind of real-life thing that Luhmann throws light on for me, or rather that I personally get out of his writings. I read him not for what seem to be weird, word-game-like utterances of a German sociologist/philosopher, but because what he says so often turns my usual ways of thinking about everyday life inside-out, allowing me to see the other side of them. Sometimes one of his ideas seems to be completely new to me, but usually my response is “Jeez, that makes things fit together. I had all the conceptual ingredients in hand and yet had never put them together quite like that”.
    The reason I made my comment above, about Luhmann on sense, was precisely to suggest that to dismiss people out of hand because they talk nonsense is epistemologically unjustifiable. This has nothing to do with bleeding-heart liberalism, or the milk of human kindness. The chapter on Sinn in Soziale Systeme is worth reading – and the whole book, of course – but let me repeat this bit as a mnemonic:

    … a preference for sense over world, for order over disturbance, for information over noise is merely a preference. It doesn’t make their counterparts superfluous. Indeed we can say that the process that is sense (Sinnprozess) thrives on disturbances, feeds off disorder, and is supported by noise.

    There can be nonsense associated with a schizophrenic disorder, nonsense of the Edward Lear kind, nonsense that can be explained by calling it false (Quine). We use nonsense in baby-talk, to give babies an easy start on the road to sense. In this case it’s easy to observe sense sprouting where nonsense was sown.
    Nonsense is not nothing. There’s no escaping it, so stop whingeing, and think twice more often.

  28. The reason I made my comment above, about Luhmann on sense, was precisely to suggest that to dismiss people out of hand because they talk nonsense is epistemologically unjustifiable. … Nonsense is not nothing. There’s no escaping it, so stop whingeing, and think twice more often.
    I’m afraid I don’t understand your point, at least in real-life terms. Are you suggesting that we devote serious attention to the ravings of lunatics because they are “not nothing”? Many things are not nothing, but life is short and attention is finite. Are you saying I should be poring over the “arguments” of the plenipotentiary judge or discussing mind-control with the streetcorner madman rather than reading Russian novels or discussing language on this blog? If not, what is the practical effect of your epistemological discourse?

  29. stop whingeing, and think twice more often.
    That was me addressing myself. There may have been some unintended ambivalence in my use of an imperative form.
    To put it in a nutshell: I find that many alternative thoughts and actions open up for me when I listen to people in a more detached fashion. I said nothing about “devoting serious attention” to lunatics. In my books, a lunatic is a lunatic until further notice. It is enough for me to realize that whatever preliminary conclusions I come to about people, they are my conclusions, and they are preliminary. These conclusions are not the result of my being a right-thinking person.
    Does this all sound rather banal? Yes, I would have to agree, it does sound that way.

  30. Here’s a concrete example, one that I’ve referred to before. When reading DM’s speech, I am strongly reminded of reading the Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Both seem to make sense, but in a very indirect and tiring fashion. So I put Kant’s book aside, and DM will occupy my attention no longer.
    Another example: the more I read Sloterdijk, Luhmann et al., the more I find that people tend to think I’m talking nonsense when I try to talk about the ideas of those writers. It’s instructive to find oneself on the wrong side of the nonsense line in this way. But I still don’t think Kant has anything to tell me.

  31. How lucky I am to have IT abilities with which to make a living ! If I were dependent on marketing my nonsense to right-thinking people, I would have starved long ago.

  32. Ah, I understand you much better now, and you have solidified my reluctance to tackle Kant.

  33. Note the possible connections between Kant, Kantor and cant, as adumbrated in the OED at cant, n(3).

  34. Bill Walderman says:

    “the more I read Sloterdijk, Luhmann et al.,”
    When I was thirteen I sailed with my parents from Rotterdam to New York on the Sloterdijk. I had no idea how literate it was, though. We had sailed in the opposite direction two years earlier on another Holland-Amerika line freighter, the Soesdijk–did it write books, too?

  35. SnowLeopard says:

    reluctance to tackle Kant
    the more I find that people tend to think I’m talking nonsense when I try to talk about the ideas of those writers
    This is something like how I feel about Kant’s Critique of Judgment. It improved my thinking, especially about music and aesthetics, in so many ways, but every single conversation I’ve ever had about the book has ended in frustration. So now I just keep my thoughts about Kant to myself, and everyone’s happier.

  36. John Emerson says:

    One of my Chinese teachers in Taiwan was a philosophy major, and I still remember her saying “Wo taoyan Kangde!” (= “I hate Kant!” or “Kant disgusts me!). I could not but agree.

  37. David Marjanović says:

    0.6 Tc.
    Oh, sorry, wrong blog. The Timecube is the unit of insanity on a decadic-logarithmic scale (0.6 Tc is ten times as insane as 0.5 Tc).

  38. When I was thirteen I sailed with my parents from Rotterdam to New York on the Sloterdijk. I had no idea how literate it was, though. We had sailed in the opposite direction two years earlier on another Holland-Amerika line freighter, the Soesdijk–did it write books, too?
    I didn’t know about the ship !! The Sloterdijk takes you into deep waters, though, so I might have guessed.
    That would have been in the ’50s or ’60s, I surmise from checking the ship list of the Holland America Line. The Soestdijk (with a “t”) was renamed to Soestdyk in 1954. So if it was still called Soestdijk when you travelled on it at the age of 11, that makes you at least 11 + 56 = 67 years old – older than me at 61 ! There is some philosophical consolation in that, though not enough for a book.

  39. Sloterdijk’s named after a ship? He probably got the idea from Anatole France. Apparently John F. Kennedy was named after a ship in the American navy.

  40. Sloterdijk’s named after a ship? He probably got the idea from Anatole France. Apparently John F. Kennedy was named after a ship in the American navy.

  41. [ahem ...]

    S1: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

    The assertion that S1 is nonsense is not nonsensical, but it is false. So is S1 itself. As usual, it is well procedurally to take a cut-down variant for analysis:

    S2: There exists at least one green idea.

    (Whether S1 entails S2 is a question we can set aside.)
    Now, we might in common discourse say that S2 is “nonsense”, but then we would not be saying that S2 has no sense assignable to it: only that its sense is outlandish. Why? Because of an elementary category error. Holding the terms green and idea fixed by convention, we all exclude ideas from the category of coloured or colourable entities. It is outlandish to assert anything that transparently ignores this common ground, so as sense-makers we reach for the strongest condemnation in our repertoire: “Nonsense!” But that is to overreach – for rhetorical effect, perhaps.
    A very common false move is to search for some ingenious way that S1 (or our S2) could get to be true. If the quest is conducted diligently enough but yields nothing, the inquirer feels licensed to claim S1 as nonsense. I hereby revoke that inquirer’s licence. Consider this sentence:

    S3: [Euclidean plane] triangle T has three internal angles summing to 360°.

    S3 is not nonsense, in the canonic understanding of that term: it is just necessarily false.
    There are no useful differences for present purposes between S1, S2, and S3. We could even find a category error lurking in S3, since plane triangles are clearly excluded from the category of entities having all internal angles summing to 360°. (By definition? Left as an exercise!)
    Putting on my copyeditor’s hat (and where more appropriately than here?):

    … is on money, coinage and on seals.

    Never mind the obvious problem with counting and all that: if coinage is not parenthetical, why on God’s colourless green Earth is there no on preceding it? I’d want at least this:

    … is on money, on coinage[,] and on seals.

    Or better (usually):

    … is on money, coinage[,] and seals.

    That species of bumbling has always been around, but it seems to be getting worse.

  42. Dr. Noe ! How nice to have you back, and Ryley commenting to boot.

  43. Thank god you’re back, doctor. As you see, our commas are falling apart. You must never, never go on walkabout again without strapping a gps device to one leg. Did you find you were walking in circles? That’s what generally happens.
    I LOVE the Marshall Berman book, All That’s Solid Melts Into Air, that you gave Language. I’m just reading his chapter on Robert Moses, giantism and modernisation & modernism.

  44. marie-lucie says:

    Welcome back, Noetica, don’t stay away for so long now.

  45. I add my welcome, and AJPHMS, I’m delighted you love the Berman book.

  46. Yes, it’s really interesting. I’m not doing it linearly, I’m dipping in and out.

  47. There’s only two places where dots as allowed as a syntax prepositional phrase to certify the value of each word and that is on money, coinage and on seals.
    That comma has been bothering me, I’m glad someone has set it right. In all fairness, it looks like a transcription error rather than something original to DM’s project. The same sentence seems to have another error as well that has slipped past spellcheck: “where dots as allowed” looks like it should be “where dots are allowed”.
    As far as the New South Wales coat of arms (kangaroo sinister?), I’m trying to work out what advantage is to be had by making the words of the motto

    orta • recens • quam • pura • nite

    (“Newly risen, how brightly you shine”) into objects of a preposition. For that matter, what ARE the dots doing there? Whoever drew it must have had some original intention.

  48. On second thought, the serial comma arrangement may not represent the thought of the speaker, although the actual recording of the proceedings would shed more light on this. If “coinage” is meant to be parenthetical, (and match the two places the dot encoding is allowed), an appropriate punctuation might be:

    There’s only two places where dots are allowed as a syntax prepositional phrase to certify the value of each word and that is on money — coinage — and on seals.

  49. Bill Walderman says:

    “renamed to Soestdyk in 1954″
    We sailed on what must have been the Soestdyk in 1958 and returned on the Sloterdyk(?) in 1960. Yes, I’m older than you but not quite as much.

  50. marie-lucie says:

    The Comma: Given the bizarre syntax and semantics of the text, The Comma would seem to be the least of anyone’s worries if they are trying to make sense of the author’s thoughts.

  51. The man was speaking, not writing, right? So he deserves a break on syntax and cannot be held at all responsible for punctuation.

  52. For political purposes, Kennedy named himself after an airport. In his youth, he had been known as “Idlewild Canaveral”.

  53. John Emerson says:

    And people sneered when I suggested that Gorki named himself after the city of his birth.

  54. “Idle-wild” was just an adolescent nickname. I believe he was christened Cape.

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