Monday, October 3, 2016

The Truth Is Subjunctive

Overheard at Althouse:
October 3, 2016 
If fat-shaming is wrong...... what about basement-living-shaming and barista-shaming? 
85 comments 
The first word "if" is the giveaway that what follows is hypothetical and not factual. But Althouse used the indicative mood for the verb, giving credence to the premise: "fat-shaming is wrong."

Now re-express the idea in the subjunctive mood:
If fat-shaming were wrong...
... what about basement-living-shaming and barista-shaming?
My version may sound stilted and dated -- but it should! The premise should be cast with doubt because it is a tenuous premise. 

Can you see how the Althouse/indicative mood helps you to accept the premise? 

________________
*Our word "shame" is cognate with the old Germanic word for "pudenda." Link

33 comments:

Mumpsimus said...

If this be pedantry, make the most of it.

chickelit said...

I should, Mumps!

Chip Ahoy said...

I am totally digging your grammar lesson here.

Earlier today upon finishing the hieroglyphs, transliteration, and translation of The Stela of Merer, the linguist then duke it out amongst themselves with variant interpretations, more "this particle goes with that, and why" using their obnoxiously erudite metalanguage grammar for everything that draws on Russian, and German, and Arabic, and Hebrew.

They combine terms, for example by dissecting these sentences they might say the first is interrogative-conditional-indicative.
the "fat shaming is wrong" is indicative. The "if" makes it conditional. And then the whole thing is a question.

It's how they roll.

What we have here is circumstantial clause. It's studied in Hebrew. That there is a clause that provides background information described by another clause. precisely, on the state or qualities of the participants involved in a given event or situation, their position or actions at the time of the occurrence, etc. They're related to other types of adverbial clauses.

Check it out, Checkitouters. It blows your mind.

I looked up the things that the super-grammar dudes used in discussing the stela. The terms include:
* negated indicative/perfective
* indicative /perfective passive with impersonal pronoun
* Get this one, they switch to German to make their point.

Jansen-Winkeln21 challenges Lichtheim’s interpretation, retains the active voice, and transliterates the passage as ni iwA(.i) ni psg(.i) m irti n nfr ni Dd(.i) n rx ni nkn(.i) xAm n(.i) rmn ‘(Ich stahl nicht,) ich spuckte nicht in die Augen eines Guten, ich sprach nicht (belehrend) zu einem Wissenden, ich verletzte nicht einen, der mit den Arm beugte.’ This requires him to interpret the two n‘s after nfr and rx as the negative particle ni.

Ha ha ha ha, stop it, you're killing me over here.

All that to get at the mood of the sentence. And all I care about is the pretty pictures and the idea of what they say, not the precise mood of their expression.

"what about basement-living and barista shaming"

Well, what of them?

When you ask like that, so wishy-washy, leaving it hanging and expecting your interlocutor to arrive at the proper conclusion then you leave it open for them to go, "eh."

Say it!

Hit them!

Force them to respond! Force them to deal with your presumed conclusion and leave nothing to presumption. They'll escape if don't rub their nose in the poo you're delivering. Goes like this:

"Look, Stupid, since you say that Trump's fat shaming is wrong. then you MUST also be appalled at Hillary's basement shaming is wrong, and her barista shaming is wrong. Two horrible wrongs against innocents who you expect support from VS one appropriate instance of a beauty contestant gaining 60 pound while representing the pageant!

And NEVER say "What about this, and what about that? "

Be direct and tell the thing about this and about that. Shove it down their stupid f'k'n throats.

Or risk having linguists applying their metalanguage upon your delicate structured locutions sorting your intended mood. It's all so precious.

Don't you think? <-- negative nominative interrogative.








rhhardin said...

Thurber has an essay "The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English Usage" on what happens in a marriage discussion when one partner leaves the subjunctive and goes into the indicative.

Sixty Grit said...

When it comes to Althouse I say let sleeping dogs lie.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Can you see how the Althouse/indicative mood helps you to accept the premise?

No. If she made some sort of mistake, then I make the same mistake regularly.

And if we're going to get all picky about it, what do you mean by "helps" and "accept?" It's a hypothetical. Acceptance has nothing to do with it.

"If" is one word. "Assuming for the sake of argument, without accepting necessarily the validity of the premise" is . . . well, you can do the counting on your own.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

And besides, if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.

ndspinelli said...

Bill Burr led off his show in Madison on fat shaming actresses. "Eat less fucking cake and exercise more you lazy asshole whiners" was how he gently put it. He then pointed out he is a bald, redheaded, ugly guy. "I'm not playing the romantic lead, I'm the friend or just the guy driving the fucking van. IT'S A BUSINESS!!" The guy is about as anti PC there is and he sold out 4 shows in MADISON!

ndspinelli said...

Notice how there are no more photos of Althouse? I've seen her lately. She is getting larger by the month.

Sixty Grit said...

Speaking of fat bastards, I saw that the Supreme Court rejected the WI John Doe II appeal - is Garage Mahal on suicide watch now? Or still? Should we care?

chickelit said...

I think garage retired from political commenting. Or maybe he just changed his handle. These days, he only publishes links to very stunning, professional-quality photos of birds in Wisconsin.

bagoh20 said...

I'm already ashamed of my shaming, so you should be ashamed of shaming me for it. I self-identify as a trans-shaming-shaman, and that's my right, besides I was born this way.

ricpic said...

Ann Althouse is unbearable because of her contempt for all the lesser beings who aren't Ann Althouse.

Amartel said...

If fat shaming is wrong
I don't want to be right

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

ricpic, Ann is the Robert M. Parker, Jr. of box wine!

Amartel said...

I'm on jury duty today so
I'm feeling judgey

Amartel said...

SHAME!!!

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Amartel: If you have a fat defendant, will you tell the Judge that you will vote to convict!

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

"Chip Ahoy said...
I am totally digging your grammar lesson here..."

It is pretty awesome. Chick is Lem's Place's Safire.

Lem said...

I'm a basement dweller but am also 190 pounds so it allevels out.

Lem said...

Althouse is shopping for a reason to vote for Hillary. Machado came close to giving it to her.

Chip Ahoy said...

I would like to see those birds of Wisconsin. That's ace! Does Garage take the photos himself? Because that would be quadruply ace.

Amartel said...

Anything to get out of jury duty!
Just kidding ... maybe. Still waiting to see if I'm going to be on a panel. Having a good time chatting with my fellow citizens. We're a skinny county but there's some weighty folks. It's 2016 America; why the hell not enjoy your food? Weightiness seems especially prevalent among young people many of whom insist on wearing very (painful looking) tight clothing. Say it loud, I'm fat and I'm proud. "Fat shaming" seems like yet another opportunistic progressive ruse to create a victimized demographic and find fault with the Republican candidate all in one. Everyone knows that being fat is not healthy but is there really a big epidemic of fat shaming and hatred out there? Are we really a nation of Buffalo Bills picking on big girls so we can sew a suit out of them? Or otherwise victimize? Most of the HR people I've ever met are big ladies. I doubt they're discriminating against other overweight people. Actors on TV and movies and singers seem to be a lot wider than they used to be, too. Trump faulted an employee for failing to live up to the easily understood terms of employment. Beauty Queen was supposed to maintain a healthy weight and not balloon up like she did. I can't fault him for that. Put the cake down, idiot. I think most people get that so he should move on.
I think "fat shaming," if defined as going around shaming fat people just for being fat, is wrong but I also think that, outside of the fever swamps/monkey islands of junior high and the progressive mind, it's fairly nonexistent.

Amartel said...

That said, if your pants don't fit, I will acquit!

ricpic said...

Judge: If the lady is fit....

Jury: We will acquit!

Judge: What is this, Gilbert & Sullivan?

Jury: More like I, the Jury.

Judge: Counsel?

Counsel: Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Lem: Ann and Lawnboy were always going to vote Hillary. It was never in doubt. Maybe they would have gone with Walker if he was the nominee (and that is just a maybe).

ndspinelli said...

Amartel, I would think you would never be picked for a personal injury case. Maybe a criminal one. I got picked for a DUI case. Convicted the shitbird. He tried to claim he was having a diabetic reaction. Lying sack o' shit.

Rabel said...

Chick is right about a couple of things in his assessment of the Althousian use of an implied indicative mood in her question about shaming.

First, he's right that on a straight reading it does indicate acceptance of the opening phrase. Second, his solution is stilted and dated. Maybe I can help.

There are other ways around the problem. One would be to offer a verbalization of the statement in which the "If" is emphasized. This would somewhat clarify the speaker's non-acceptance of the proposition. Another, if we are limited to the written word, would be to simply to use a capital "F" alongside the "I" to force that emphasis on a reader.

I like the latter solution. It allows us, in a helpful spirit of benign neutrality, to send a big "F" to Althouse to go along the the big "F.U." we customarily sent to her housemate.

Sixty Grit said...

As the old song goes, If You See Kay, etc.

Or, to riff on the old play "It took me two weeks to figure out that stood for Felix Unger!"

Oldies but goodies...

chickelit said...

Chip Ahoy said...
I would like to see those birds of Wisconsin. That's ace! Does Garage take the photos himself? Because that would be quadruply ace.

As far as I know, yes. Here is one from a few weeks ago: Althouse link. There had been several prior to this one.

Sixty Grit said...

I recently spent some time working at a site where sunflowers were growing. The goldfinches were all over - I tried to take some pictures of them - the whole yellow/black thing for birds and flowers worked, as they say, but using my slow phone with its tiny lens, all I got was nothing. Lousy pictures of sunflowers showing where the goldfinches used to be.

All this to say - that is a very nice picture taken by a despicable human being. I think I need to go lie down and think about things.

ndspinelli said...

Sixty, It must be HURRICANE 24/7 there. Scare the shit out of people. Know how to survive a fucking hurricane, just GET AWAY FROM THE FUCKING OCEAN and out of your double wide. The latter is also how you survive a tornado. Those trailers are tornado magnets.

Meade said...

Lem said...
"Althouse is shopping for a reason to vote for Hillary. Machado came close to giving it to her."

Thought we had an agreement, Lem.