josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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7 Jul '12 06:46:07 AM

A turn of phrase that shows David Simon to be literary:

'…you are one of thirty-six investigators entrusted with the pursuit of that most extraordinary of crimes: the theft of a human life. You speak for the dead.'

"Speak for the dead' made it into the show as dialogue, but not, I think, 'the theft of a human life', which is a striking way of making 'taking of a life' sound out more slowly.

With Simon, one expects this to be given an economic reading sooner or later.

4 Jul '12 12:08:35 PM

I don't like being this room's temperature.

2 Jul '12 12:08:37 AM

'I can't speak for…' a person, someone else, but likely someone I know, even someone I may know quite well.

But 'I don't speak for…' an institution, a profession, a party, a group, unless they've said so; nominated, elected, chosen me.

(Yet it is more likely 'I can't speak for all…' than 'I don't speak for all…'. The former evinces awareness of a representative potential in what one will say. The latter denies a presumed representative power, in some cases to claim a more partial but still representative one.)

1 Jul '12 11:53:39 PM

Speaking up; speaking out; speaking out of turn.

Speaking for oneself; speaking for myself; speak for yourself; I think I speak for all of us when I say; he speaks for all of us.

1 Jul '12 11:44:51 PM

Voice; calling out; calling out to you; calling you out; calling on you; calling upon you all.

1 Jul '12 11:32:27 PM

Voice; having a voice; having a say.

Finding your voice; having your say.

1 Jul '12 07:25:38 AM

Pirate Prentice's 'Firm', i.e. the Special Operations Executive (a successor to Section D of the Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6), is the earliest They in Gravity's Rainbow.

Late in the book, when he finds he still works for the Firm, as a 'double agent'—for '… no one has ever left the Firm alive, no one in history—and no one ever will'—Pirate begins to cry:

'… he understands where he is, now. It will be possible, after all, to die in obscurity, without having helped a soul: without love, despised, never trusted, never vindicated—to stay down among the Preterite, his poor honor lost, impossible to locate or to redeem.'

30 Jun '12 11:42:01 AM

OK, Herder, this sentence has eight exclamation points in it. And not all at the end!

30 Jun '12 03:48:57 AM

Herder uses so many exclamation points!