Mark Liberman at the Log has a post on Ben Schott’s NY Times op-ed piece “Twittergraphy,” which features telegraphic code books and has an image from the third edition of The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code (1891); Mark links to the Google Books version of the book and looks for the words “language” and “hat,” which turn out to be code for “Do not leave” and “If you can help” respectively. In the comment thread, Nick Lamb says that if someone does the requisite ASCII formatting, he will be “quite happy to knock together a web site where visitors can enter words or sequences thereof and get them translated.”
Incidentally, I seem to have forgotten my own blogiversary the other day. Languagehat opened its doors for business on July 31, 2002; it’s hard to believe it’s been so long, but I figure if I can last seven years, I can keep going indefinitely, as long as you folks keep providing feedback. Some valued contributors have fallen away over the years, so don’t leave if you can help!


  1. Congratulations on the blogiversary, languagehat!

  2. What if we can’t help?
    Tillykke med bloggilæet!

  3. What if we can’t help?
    Then we can recite Drayton together.

  4. clodhopper says

    We all need the bio feedback to stimulate growth, i.e. all 5 obvious senses need to be fed and watered.
    LH, Congrats. I try to use my usual mono syll able expressions of thanks.
    You have provided stymulus to react in a good way, thank you.

  5. clodhopper says

    re: first post, NIH* is still flourishing successfully
    NIH: not invented here.

  6. You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

  7. Regarding the blogiversary : “Chapeau bas!” et grand merci to LH and to all of you, contributors, for this amazing sharing!

  8. Congrats on the blogiversary, hat. As one who has just celebrated his first I gaze in awe at my elders and betters.

  9. Sorry, I can’t help, so I must leave. But on the way out I must say: Congrats LH!

  10. Still here. Just wait to comment on the rare occasions I have anything reasonable to add. Enjoying the book this week. Yours, that is.

  11. Thank you for the Drayton; there is always something unexpected here.

  12. Siganus Sutor says

    I don’t know if I could ever help, but I definitely need some leave.

  13. Yes, congrats on 7 years. I’ve forgotten: what was the original site URL, before you moved to the current abode?

  14. It was Funny, for years that site came up before this one on Google searches, long after I’d stopped using it, but now it seems to have fallen down the well. Also funny, now that I visit the site itself, is that it looks completely different than it used to. How did that happen??

  15. David Marjanović says

    Blogspot changed everyone’s layout two years ago or something. Nobody knows why.

  16. Blogger was acquired by Google. They changed the sign-in too.

  17. Yes, congratulations on the insanely successful blog and the insanely…. insane 🙂 community you’ve built up.

  18. going dotty in kansas says

    Seven years and fourscore more to you, Steve, and to LH!…may seven good years be followed by a succession of seven more good years thereafter. Bay branches, zinnias, and currants are hereby gathered in your honor!

  19. You may think we’re nuts, but at least we haven’t spent the last seven years in our dressing gown. (Full disclosure: I’m wearing my pyjamas.)

  20. Filmy gauzy says

    I don’t spend my time in a dressing gown, I am a dressing gown, and I am very picky about who I drape myself around 🙂

  21. I should hope so. Are you this sort of dressing gown?

  22. I should hope so. Are you this sort of dressing gown?

  23. Bathrobe lives in Asia, no? So I always picture him something like this or this or this. There is another famous print–maybe black and white?–of two people swirling around, maybe dancers, but I don’t remember the name of the artist.
    If there is a Ms. Bathrobe she might look like this.

  24. I love those outfits, but I’m pretty sure Dressing Gown lives in Awstralia.

  25. If Teh Batrobe lives in Oz, then we must imagine something Britishy like the first paragraph of Ulysses:

    Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
    Introibo ad altare Dei.

    But Joyce does not explain himself succinctly here. What is “ungirdled”? Does it mean this Mulligan dude forgot to tie the belt? Or is it a beltless type of filmy gauzy bathrobe? If it was “sustained behind him” it must indeed have been “filmy gauzy” or maybe he lives in a very windy area. And if it is “sustained behind him”…Well! It doesn’t say if he is wearing anything else. One can only imagine a sort of Superman cape effect and hope he has remembered his tights. Joyce is very frustrating in that sense, with his lack of explanation, not to mention the Latin, which is why I have temporarily abandoned Ulysses for one of his earlier writings.
    I’ve been trying to figure out the international date line. Isn’t it Saturday in Oz already–almost Sunday, in fact? Maybe we should turn a light on in that other thread for Dr. Noe in case he has returned from walkabout and is trying to find his way back to it.

  26. BTW, where is Bathrobe’s website? It’s not like they cost money or anything.

  27. I gave up linking to my website because I found that too many of my Google Sense ads were related to robes.

  28. But Joyce does not explain himself succinctly here. What is “ungirdled”?
    Buck has not tied the belt of his gown. I like to think that the material is silk. He is probably wearing pyjamas underneath.
    I thought “succinctly” was a funny word to use here, because Joyce is not wasting words. So I looked it up and was delighted to learn that etymologically and archaically “succinct” means something like “girdled”!

  29. But empty, how do you know. It doesn’t say. Maybe he sleeps in the raw–or do they say “commando” these days. Maybe he’s supposed to look pagan or druid or something while he’s waving his hands around with all that Latin. And Joyce may have chosen the words carefully, but they are not clear, they are not concise, and they are not to the point.

  30. “not tied the belt of his gown”
    I see some loose ends, for sure.

  31. Nijma, you could really use a dose of humility.

  32. Hat. Really.
    I come onto a blog where everybody probably eats literature like Ulysses for breakfast and admit I can’t get a handle on it, plus my literary Spirit Guide has disappeared into the wilds of Australia, probably consumed by some venomous creature, and all you can come up with is “you could really use a dose of humility”? Where is the Hattian appreciation for non-linguists trying to express difficult feelings? Where is the legendary Hattian patience? Well, this Ulysses thing is not in the realm of stuff I have done before, and it’s certainly way outside of my own field of study, but I suspect it’s the key to understanding other stuff of the same era like Ezra Pound, for example, and if the Ulysses thing would fall into place, the other stuff probably would too. Go ahead and jeer, Hat. If Uncle doesn’t show up I am determined to somehow get through it on my own. “Dose of humility.” Tsk.

  33. I have no problem with your tackling Joyce and recording your reactions, in fact I applaud it. But perhaps you don’t realize that when you say things like “they are not clear, they are not concise, and they are not to the point,” you are implying that you have a better sense of style and of English than James Joyce (not to mention generations of people who think Joyce a great writer). That’s specifically what I’m talking about. You might consider the possibility that your first impressions based on your first read-through do not give you a perfect insight into his strategies, methods, and success. Humility means saying “This does not seem clear to me at the moment, but I’ll take it on trust and expect that it will become clearer later on.”

  34. Oh, well, in that case…if you just want to be cranky, Hat, that’s one thing, but if you want to be cranky about something specific, I can totally deal with it.
    My remarks were directed towards Empty (ø) who actually went to the trouble to look up succinct and found out something interesting about it.

    1. Characterized by clear, precise expression in few words; concise and terse: a succinct reply; a succinct style.
    2. Archaic. Encircled as if by a girdle; girded.
    [Middle English succincte, girt, from Old French, from Latin succīnctus, past participle of succingere, to gird from below : sub-, sub- + cingere, to gird.]…
    Definition: brief, to the point
    Antonyms: lengthy, long-winded, wordy

    And my remarks were about the bathrobe, er, dressing gown described in the opening three sentences of Ulysses.
    If I can’t read that and picture what the guy was wearing, then how can it be “clear”, “concise”, or “to the point”? Maybe Joyce’s audience in 1914 could tell, or maybe some of your readers think they know (I saw silk too), but it doesn’t say. (Disclaimer: I’m wearing sweats, the same ones I sleep in.)
    …and how on earth do you get from there to “implying that I have a better sense of style and of English than James Joyce” absolutely floors me. If I ever get back to reading it, and I probably will, I will not read what the “generations of people who think Joyce a great writer” said about it first, I will read it on my own and form my own (probably non-canonical) impressions. I would certainly be interested in what other Hattians have to say about Joyce, but not if it has to be filtered through some straightjacket of preconceived notions about what is proper to utter about a(n) (non-living) author.
    I really have to appreciate Uncle N’s approach; instead of browbeating the Unwashed into trying to realize how Unworthy they are to receive the Great Words, he has gone to some trouble to try to make this accessible to a more general audience.
    And BTW, what was that Mulligan dude wearing under his bathrobe, er, dressinggown?

  35. Nijma,
    It is clear to me that Hat was not jeering at you or suggesting that you were Unworthy. I can imagine that the word “humility” hit a nerve, but I myself read his comment as being very much in the spirit of what Uncle N expressed more gently in his very welcome “auditorium” metaphor in the July 10 thread.
    Hat was not commenting on the fact that you were having a hard time “getting a handle” on Joyce’s prose, but rather on how you were writing about your difficulties. You may have thought that were admitting to having trouble and asking for help or advice, but your words struck me (and I believe Hat, and I suspect many others) as ascribing your difficulties entirely to some inadequacy in Joyce’s writing. All about him, nothing to do with you. (Note: I am not saying that it is supposed to be all about you.)
    If you really believe that everybody else around here eats this stuff for breakfast (which is certainly not true, by the way), then how do you expect us to take it when you lash out at Joyce’s writing like that?
    For your own sake, let me recommend that, if you want to take on the challenging task of reading this book, a spirit of hostility is not the best way to go about it.
    I maintain that, in the few words that you quoted, Joyce conveyed a lot of meaning. His writing was both concise and succinct. If he had described the robe in more detail, you could still complain that he did not describe the razor well enough, or describe the room well enough, or fully specify this Buck dude’s degree of plumpness. (You unaccountably left out the first two words “Stately, plump”.) But whaddaya want?

  36. I wanna know if he’s nekkid, is that too much to ask?

  37. And I just threw it up there as a brainstorm/word-salad thing on Bathrobe’s nom de guerre, which we were being playful about. And did no one get the gown-not-tied/loose-ends pun? Jesus H. Christ, do I have to explain everything? And how do you get off reading “hostility” into ANYTHING??? Reminds me of the story of the guy with Limburger cheese under his nose.
    Now, who is going to explain to me how Mulligan is dressed, AND HOW THEY KNOW THAT?

  38. Well, even he has pajamas on, he’s presumably naked under his pajamas.

  39. Buck naked, I mean to say.

  40. I meant “even if he has pajamas on”.

  41. I’m with Nijma on this one. I read her comments in a lighthearted way as taking the mickey out of Joyce. Irreverant, to be sure, and slightly loud. Perhaps a slightly less earthy version of Erma Brombeck (RIP) 🙂 But the lack of humility is part of the humour.

  42. Okay, I will try to lighten up and also attend to the Limburger cheese in my own bathrobe pocket.
    About Buck’s garment: A look at Wikipedia suggests that Joyce really missed the boat: not only didn’t he specify the fabric, but he didn’t give the weave, the collar, or the sculpture, either.

  43. Okay, I’ll go with the pajama theory, on the basis of the wikipedia thing. If “bathrobe” is something you wear nekkid out of the bath and “dressing gown” is something that goes over jammies, usually made of silk during that historical period, then he’s probably wearing a yellow silk thingie and as he’s plump, it pretty much covers him even as it’s billowing out, so no need to describe the jammies. If you lived in 1914 without sweats or spandex you would probably know that already.

  44. Oh, I freely confess that I have no idea what a man in early 20th century Dublin would wear to bed. Pajamas? A nightgown? I’m guessing Mulligan had a second layer, but again that’s just a guess.
    The idea that plump means easier to cover sounds ass-backwards to me. Or do I mean bass-ackwards? Preposterous, anyway. No offense.

  45. It seems that Ulysses is a bit like the Bible in that the more you read it the more there is — even when Joyce is merely describing the dude who’s just got up. Therefore, the succinctness of the writing isn’t really so relevant; not as it is when you read a piece by, say, George Orwell. Orwell’s concise clarity is appealing too, but it isn’t the only enjoyment to be had from reading. Instead of succinctness, what is important is Joyce’s words. Like some parts of the Bible or Shakespeare’s plays, you can enjoy hearing them repeated as a form of poetry, whereas in a piece by Orwell what you admire is how he has devoted his talent and craft to being persuasive and insightful about his time. My point is that there is no one easy way to to good writing; you don’t simply check off ‘succinct’, etc. and there it is.

  46. taking the mickey out of Joyce
    I didn’t know Joyce had any mickey, but I’m sure finding out in a hurry. I didn’t know he had been apotheosized either. There seems to be plenty of genuflecting and ritual associated with the mere mention of his name. It reminds me all over again of why I found high school English to be so repellent and why I worked so hard to (successfully) escape taking senior English. Oh, I didn’t mind the literature, that was fun and I was good at it, I always read the whole book, not just the assigned part (how else did we discover Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”). It was the tedious English teachers who had to have everything a certain way and their fawning attitude towards various authors (sooooo much time spent on Whitman) and the expectation that the students would not experience the writing for itself but would join in the koolaid kult.
    Basically I’m approaching this Ulysses knowing nothing at all about it except what is there to see on the surface (and that Dr. No finds it an appropriate subject for play). No, Joyce is not “succinct” at all, whether you are playing around with word associations on someone’s screen name or picking up the book to read it from page 1. The effect is a bit like walking into a room where there is already a conversation going on and no one says “oh, hi, this is x and we were just talking about y”. Why anyone would get upset by someone saying Joyce wasn’t “succinct” is beyond me. They could point out the succinctness if they didn’t agree, but instead I get a bunch of jumping up and down because I’m not following the correct liturgical responses. As I said, this is what turned me away from literature in the first place and it’s really hard not to let the negative experience on this thread affect how I perceive this particular bit of literature.
    Irma Bombeck we had in our local newspaper in dreary Podunksville when I was growing up, Art Buchwald too, and I always read them both. Also “Peanuts”. William F. Buckley, not so much. There wasn’t much else to read. I suppose I know how to write in a dry “academic” style, but I haven’t done so here, not very much, since I’m not writing as an academic (I’m not a linguist, I’m a non-combatant.)
    I have no idea what a man in early 20th century Dublin would wear to bed.
    Check out the wikipedia article, it’s in there.
    what is important is Joyce’s words
    I’m starting to figure that out from his other book I decided to read first. I don’t know how you responded to Shakespeare in high school but we played with that one a lot. I think everyone had the cauldron chant memorized, and several others. It entered our hallway conversations, as we tried to figure out how to make it ours. That is part of what I was trying to do by bringing Joyce into the bathrobe thread, to find a way to put him into our century. Looks like I got shot down, huh. Everyone wants him on the pedestal.

  47. Sorry, didn’t mean to put Joyce on a pedestal or put you down; it’s great to approach him as just a writer, and there’s no reason to genuflect or assume he’s always right. I was just irritated by your instant assumption that you were right and he was wrong.

  48. I’m a non-combatant
    Check out the wikipedia article, it’s in there.
    Which WP article? Last night when I could have been sleeping (or reading a good book),I spent some time looking in vain for historical info about period sleepwear, all for the sake of your ‘satiable curtiosity. So what’s the answer?

  49. Also what Hat said goes for me.

  50. didn’t mean to put Joyce on a pedestal
    And you didn’t, of course. Nijma did: she hoisted him up there just to throw eggs at him, and when you objected to the spectacle, insisting on a little, I don’t know, thought with your criticism, she told us all what a freethinker she’s been since high school.

  51. Also what Hat said
    In that case, I will yell at you first because you are the bigger idiot.
    First of all, you are WRONG. Just plain WRONG. That’s all I’m going to say about that; maybe one of the 152,966 other people who subscribe to LH via Google feedreader has time to explain it to you–the rest of my day will be spent trying to figure out how to charge my car battery before work tomorrow.
    Second of all, you are nine kinds of special cretinistic idiot for dittoheading anyone instead of thinking for yourself. Does anyone who reads this value sycophancy over critical thinking? Who knows, but I’m not going to be the one to take this thread in that direction.

  52. I’m pretty sure Empty was seconding Hat’s (unwarranted) apology, Nijma. Might want to read before you scream.

  53. your instant assumption that you were right and he was wrong
    So I can’t say Joyce was not “succinct” about bathrobes without leaving myself open to accusations of saying he was “wrong”?
    she hoisted him up there just to throw eggs at him
    The cult goes deeper than I imagined. Now we’re into the murky area of questioning motives, where no proofs are possible and a mere accusation carries a conviction of witchcraft. Of course no one is going to bother to parse what I said…or to actually comment about Joyce…or to move the thread in a positive, non-accusatory direction. If I had linked to a picture of Jesus floating in urine, I couldn’t have generated a more irrational reaction from the Faithful.

  54. Hat’s “apology”
    Parse it again. But Hat doesn’t want me to feel bad, which is sweet, or to discourage discussion of Joyce, which it’s kind of late for that, but okay, the show must go on.

  55. Which WP article?
    The same one you linked to, Empty:

    A bathrobe or dressing gown or housecoat is a robe typically worn after bathing in the privacy of one’s home where the wearer is typically otherwise nude to keep warm and/or preserve modesty at times when there is no immediate need to fully dress. As a dressing gown proper, it is a loose open-fronted gown closed with a fabric belt that is put on over nightwear on rising from bed, or, less commonly today, worn over some day clothes when partially dressed or undressed in the morning or evening (for example, over a man’s shirt and trousers without jacket and tie).
    …silk dressing gowns are the traditional choice, since they are not worn after bathing.

    Then if you follow the “banyan” link…

    Loose dresses contribute to the easy and vigorous exercise of the faculties of the mind. This remark is so obvious, and so generally known, that we find studious men are always painted in gowns, when they are seated in their libraries.

    So a hundred years earlier some kind of robe is associated with scholarliness, and here they are pictured as wearing at least socks and vests underneath, although the clothing isn’t really that visible. So it’s not conclusive, but it looks like he’s wearing something under the “dressinggown” as he goes about what seems to be some sort of (non-naked) ritual with crossed shaving paraphernalia.
    I hadn’t intended to open the Gifford just yet, but here’s what he says about the gown:

    yellow-16 June is the feast day of St. John Francis Regis (1597-1640), a little-known French saint much venerated in the south of France. Since it is the feast day of a confessor, the appropriate vestments for the Mass are white with gold optional. But the gold of liturgical vestments is not a yellow fabric but cloth of gold, a fabric woven wholly or in part with threads of gold. Liturgically, the color yellow has many negative connotations: “Yellow is sometimes used to suggest infernal light, degradation, jealousy, treason, and deceit. Thus, the traitor Judas is frequently painted in a garment of dingy yellow. In the Middle Ages heretics were obliged to wear yellow.”

    ungirdled- when a priest celebrates Mass, the alb, the long white linen robe with tapered sleeves that he wears, is secured by a girdle, a narrow band ending in tassels. “Ungirdled” suggests violation of the priestly vow of chastity;

    Well, I thought yellow was an alternate color for Easter and I thought the monks had three knots in their belts for the three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, but you can see where the commentary is going. I think I was right to put away the commentary for the first reading. It’s just going to prejudice me, but at the same time it’s very apparent there are multiple references to stuff that his audience back then would have considered everyday but now has to be explained.

  56. In that case, I will yell at you first because you are the bigger idiot. … Second of all, you are nine kinds of special cretinistic idiot for dittoheading anyone instead of thinking for yourself.
    Knock it off or it’s bannination time, Nidge. I won’t have that kind of abuse of other commenters. Save it for Usenet or YouTube comments. And don’t bother whining about how somebody else started it; nobody does this stuff except you, and I’m good and tired of it. Just keep a civil tongue in your head and you can speculate about Joyce all you want.

  57. David Marjanović says

    <deep breath>
    I, for one, am not at all that much into literature. I tend to skip the threads about it entirely.

    Save it for Usenet or YouTube comments.

    Come on. Nobody with an IQ above 80 has ever commented on a YouTube video – but such an IQ is required to come up with “nine kinds of special cretinistic idiot”. 😀 This holds even if I’m reading too much into it and it’s not actually meant as a reference to cre[a]ti[o]nism.

  58. Nijma,
    I saw this comment from Hat:
    Sorry, didn’t mean to put Joyce on a pedestal or put you down; it’s great to approach him as just a writer, and there’s no reason to genuflect or assume he’s always right. I was just irritated by your instant assumption that you were right and he was wrong.
    And after thinking about it I found that I agreed with what he was saying. I thought, we shouldn’t have any sacred cows here, the idea of Great Writers is oppressive, if Nijma wants to be funny about how she finds Joyce hard to read, fine. I thought, Nijma has a point about the way people people rush to the Great Writer’s defense.
    I thought, things are getting ugly here, they don’t have to get ugly, let’s leave room for some more points of view, I’m going to follow Hat’s lead and do my bit to make peace.
    That’s what I meant by saying that what he said goes for me. I actively, thinkingly, deliberately, independently agreed with him.
    P.S. There is such a thing as loving a piece of writing as a direct response to that piece of writing — not because one’s teacher or anybody else said it was Great. Two different kinds of “cult”, I suppose. It certainly can be hard to tell the difference.

  59. Things have got a bit out of hand.
    My personal feeling is that Hat’s original comment was slightly off the mark, which is why I felt compelled to present a different view of Nijma’s jottings on Joyce’s style. But Hat has apologised and explained what he meant, which should be enough.
    In the meantime, Nijma has gone in for some serious venting. Well, everyone has buttons to push. In Hat’s case it’s bloody-minded prescriptivism. In Nijma’s case it appears to be the cult of Great Literature. Despite a few flurries of intemperate language, I don’t see any major problems. Hat found Nijma’s excursions into textual criticism a little hard to take, and accidentally pushed “the button”. Nijma went a bit overboard and delivered a few ill-aimed kicks, but her criticisms of “literary worship” made perfect sense.
    I think that if we all calm down a little we’ll find that we agree on much more than we disagree on. Languagehat has always been a place to find interesting, intelligent points of view, and Nijma’s point of view is nothing if not interesting. My suggestion is that we let the intellectual adrenalin dissipate a bit and get back to what we have grown to expect and love on Languagehat — an interesting exchange of views among intelligent people.

  60. “we must imagine something Britishy like the first paragraph of Ulysses”
    I feel hesitant to wade into the fray here, but I would just like to say that Irish is not British and James Joyce was not a Brit.

  61. One thing has always nagged at me. Given that the Irish (of Eire) understandably don’t belong to, and don’t want to belong to the United Kingdom, are we still entitled to say they aren’t “British”?
    The problem is the expression “British Isles”. Speaking logically, these should include both Great Britain and Ireland and the surrounding islands. Thus, anyone who comes from Ireland is also, in a sense, “British”. But given the Irish antipathy to things “British”, I suspect that the Irish would protest at being included in the “British Isles”. In which case, what name should we give to that group of islands off the northwest coast of Europe?
    Just a

  62. n idle question…
    (The previous message got sent before the site finished registering my input)

  63. I should have checked Wikipedia. The whole issue is covered in great detail.

  64. Nijma has gone in for some serious venting. … Despite a few flurries of intemperate language, I don’t see any major problems.
    Well, I do. There’s a big difference between generalized ranting and personally attacking other commenters here, and I won’t put up with the latter. Nijma will say that she was attacked first, no doubt, but that’s no excuse for pulling out the “intemperate language.” The whole point of being an adult is that you can disagree, or even attack, without calling names.

  65. Too bad this post has gone so far off topic — Hat, you deserve big congratulations for a wonderful blog. I’ve been reading for five or six years now, and though little things like graduate school and dissertating often keep me from joining in, I delurk and try to help when I can, and I definitely won’t be leaving anytime soon.

  66. Now, that’s what I like to hear! Thanks for rerailing the thread, and I hope we can all put this minor unpleasantness behind us. Glad you delurked!

  67. As DM pointed out, my “intemperate language” has an IQ below 80, and although it makes a nice bookend with the “it’s just wrong” school of reasoning, logic, and rhetoric it was paired with, is probably no good for hurting anyone, much less something more sophisticated like twisting the knife, pouring salt on wounds, or going for the jugular. Clearly I have a lot left to learn about invective. :~)
    But since Hat has been polite enough to treat it as real abuse and a genuine personal attack, rather than not battle ready, I can only apologize, without reservations.
    Now, another thing. I have been attributed with “lashing out at Joyce”, “hoisting Joyce on a pedestal in order to throw eggs at him”, and in particular “assuming I was right and he was wrong”. None of this is true. I did not say any of it, or even think any of it. After I objected to the last one, it was merely cut and pasted again, with an assertion that it was true. I don’t think anyone wants to be quoted out of context to give the impression that they hold views they do not hold, or to be maligned, or to be treated as if they are not acting in good faith. Now I don’t think anyone owes me an apology, or ever has, but I would like some acknowledgment that I did not say the things that are being attributed to me.

  68. David Marjanović says

    As DM pointed out, my “intemperate language” has an IQ below 80

    What? Do you comment on YouTube? An IQ above 80 is required to come up with “nine kinds of special cretinistic idiot”.

  69. Nijma,
    If you had to abuse me, then I guess I’m glad you did it so colorfully. And I didn’t mind it a lot, since I know in my heart that I’m not even one kind of regular cretinistic idiot. Anyway, apology accepted as far as I’m concerned.
    I apologize for my own intemperate language in using the hot expressions “lash out” and “hostility” when things were already heated up.

  70. Do I comment on YouTube? As a matter of fact, I was one of the first to welcome Malika Rania to the blogosphere–the number of comments is now over 6,000–and I commented on this video, which apparently lowered the tone of YouTube sufficiently to have the author delete all comments and disable the comment feature. Ah, politics.
    And I see empty has survived his no doubt harrowing experience.
    It’s a shame that a simple literary reference to someone’s blogging moniker would trigger such a flurry of flying monkeys. People make comments about hats all the time, why not dressing gowns? At least Bathrobe enjoyed the reference. Even if it wasn’t that profound, I thought it was an interesting nugget, and much nicer than the picture Kron posted (who WAS that?). And I am SO glad BR in his alternate universe is fully Robed and in the company of demure and decorous women.

  71. i’ve thrown together the convert-to-and-from-telegraphic-code site – presenting tweetcode! you’ll find it most useful if you’re talking about explosions down at the mine or selling stock on margin.

  72. An IQ above 80 is required to come up with “nine kinds of special cretinistic idiot”.
    The “cretin” part comes from fratboiz in this area and I have never heard it uttered by anyone older than 19. The rest is playground gibberish. It’s a child’s taunt, really, like “poo, poo on you”–how could anyone ever take it seriously? So no, Empty has not been abused, not yet, but if he wants to email me we can arrange something. [Just kidding–and I know this is a rough crowd, too–I’d better put up a happy face :~) ]

  73. Nijma,
    Let’s see if we can finish burying the hatchet without letting the blade make contact with anybody’s soft parts.
    I did know the word “cretin”. It was the form “cretinistic” that was new to me. Like “idiot”, “moron”, “imbecile”, “retard”, “spastic”, and undoubtedly others, “cretin” is a term of abuse derived from a (former or current) medical or psychological term. I have no doubt that as a term of abuse it has gone through several revivals, each with its own nuances of meaning, but I guess I’m not that interested in the details.
    Even while reeling from the attack, I did manage to take in both the inventiveness and the childishness of your taunts. Still, I hope we can keep the hatchet buried and let our neotenous impulses find more acceptable outlets.

  74. Nijma, I think we need a bit of perspective here.
    The estimable Mr Hat, who is normally an affable, easygoing, gracious and generous host who enjoys all kinds of intellectual interactions and off-topic comments, for some reason sometimes becomes impatient with your comments. I have no idea why, because I personally find many of your comments interesting and witty, but that is how it is.
    In a moment of irritation, Mr Hat irrupted into a perfectly genial exchange with what can only be described as a sharp rebuke. It wasn’t a reasoned comment, a criticism proffered as part of an intellectual argment, or a gentle suggestion: it was a putdown of the type that might be made from parent to child or superior to inferior. It left you without “face” and, in its tone, did not brook any defence or explanation.
    Since you were going along happily enjoying an exchange on bathrobes, Joyce, etc., you were completely taken by surprise by this, and I don’t blame you. So was I. I could also see that you were hurt. It took a while for what Hat had said to register, and when it did, you first protested and then came out with all guns blazing — which only gave him a proper reason to reprimand you.
    No one else here has any issues with you, and people have even made gestures in your defence, but you seem to feel in a sulky sort of way that the entire community is somehow against you. This is not true. You were quite clearly wronged and you are right to feel so. But there is no need to keep going on with other participants. You need to reach some kind of peace with Mr Hat. All the rest is a sideshow.

  75. Thank you for your kind words, Bathrobe, it brought tears to my eyes. The fact is I’ve been sick, nothing major, probably food related, but I need to rest.

  76. No one else here has any issues with you
    It’s good of you to try to reassure Nijma, but you go too far. This statement is quite untrue, and you should speak only for yourself. I’m not about to go into details, but I assure you I am far from the only one who has problems with her, and those problems are not inexplicable but are the result of her lack of awareness of how her belligerence (which she apparently feels is either jokey or simply giving as good as she gets) comes across. If you personally don’t have a problem with it, that’s great, but as I say, speak for yourself.
    I dislike the tension that arises out of this, but the solution is not to tell Nijma that she’s OK and everything’s OK and she should just be herself, because that’s likely to end with her being banned (and I have been asked with some impatience why that hasn’t already happened). The solution is for her to rein herself in and stop insulting people and causing a ruckus. If she can do that, I’ll be very happy; like you, I enjoy much of her contribution here. But I won’t have fights breaking out in my comment threads.
    Nijma: I’m sorry to harsh your mellow after the good Bathrobe worked so hard to restore it (it probably would have made more sense for him to send you an e-mail), but the record needed to be corrected. I would like nothing better than to see you be a pleasant contributor saying interesting things, so if you can keep doing that, we’ll all be happy.

  77. In other words, do not leave if you can help.

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