Saturday, July 01, 2006

More words to add to the 999,850 George Bush doesn’t know

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Senile Dementia) explains how the internet works (evidently it’s a series of tubes) and why he won’t vote for Net Neutrality (because someone sent him an internet and it took several days to reach him).

Time magazine has an article about prisoners and hunger-strikes in Guantanamo, which explains why I’ve been getting all those hits from people googling “padded cell on wheels” today (this February post, which has pictures of the contraption). Readers of this blog will find nothing new in the article, and a certain amount of laziness (it says that in the “1980s,” “several” IRA prisoners hunger struck and a “handful” died). So why am I mentioning it? Er, good question. Moving on...

I’ve been thinking about the word “arrest.” A couple of days ago, Eli at LeftI made a point that I’ve made before, in relation to the actions of both Israelis in Palestine and Americans in Iraq, that they aren’t “arresting” people but capturing or seizing or kidnapping them, because arrests are done under some system of law. Suskind’s book mentioned parenthetically that when thousands of Arabs & Muslims were rounded up in the US after 9/11, “it was clear that the ratio of arrest to prosecution would be more out of sync than at any time in [FBI] history.” It occurred to me that the purpose of arrest had changed to such an extent that it did violence to the English language and to the concept of a rule of law to continue to use the word. If an arrest is no longer a preliminary to prosecution, it becomes an end in itself. The end is not the law, and the “law enforcement” agencies are no longer about enforcing laws. Police without law is the definition of a police state. Maybe the FBI needs breaking up if it is to be both a law-enforcement agency and a secret police.

Also, someone should revive “Arrested Development.” That was a good show.

A good WaPo Style Invitational, suggestions for the one millionth word in the English language. Some of the entries:
  • Percycution: Giving your child a name he will hate for the rest of his life.
  • Martyration: A request for only 36 virgins in paradise.
  • Achoodication: Trying to determine whether you have to say "bless you" after someone’s second sneeze.
  • Banglion: The primitive neural structure constituting 90 percent of the male brain.
  • Codgertation: A man’s realization that with a certain saying, thought or action, he has turned into his father.
  • Immigaytion: The GOP’s two-pronged fear strategy: "It’s two, two, two horrors in one!"
  • Racquisition: Implant surgery.
  • Regattacotillion: A vocabulary word designed solely to discriminate against minorities on standardized tests.
  • Regeorgitation: When the vending machine spits back your dollar bill.

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