Language

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Attack on TV Couple Recalls a Chik-Fil-A Story of Solidarity

As I clicked through and read the outrage-mongering BuzzFeed article that launched the sham controversy over the personal beliefs of Chip and Joanna Gaines, co-hosts of the show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, I was transported back to 2012, and another event that prompted national outcry against the alleged enemies of diversity, tolerance, and open-mindedness. On [...]

What is the Universe Made Of?

In an episode of Antiques Roadshow, a furniture expert was presented an unexceptional-looking table, one that struck me as something I could put together in an afternoon. Although the piece had no decorative embellishments or maker's mark, the expert immediately identified it as the work of George Nakashima, an innovative furniture maker of the last century. I was amazed, for somewhere in the table’s stark simplicity [...]

Let’s Explain Rather than Eject the Church’s Language

The Church in recent decades has found itself in an internal discussion about how best to express its belief about sexual morality, and these conversations have filtered into the episcopate as well. Fr. Gerald E. Murray raises some recent examples in an essay at The Catholic Thing. In an interview with America magazine this summer, [...]

Lessons from Descartes on the Value of Latin Liturgy

I was in the fourth grade at Christ King School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin when the changes wrought by Vatican II were implemented. Memory is a tricky thing, but I am fairly certain that, in the space of one week, Sr. Achillea stopped drilling us on the Baltimore Catechism, threw some pillows on the floor, cranked [...]

Warping Words: On “Hate” and “Mercy”

When words lose their distinct meanings, they no longer sound clearly in our ears. They dissipate and fade. They buzz—and hence, they become "buzzwords." This occurs most often to words that initially have powerful meanings. But the desire to harness the power of these words leads to their abuse, their twisting and mangling to suit [...]

Why Words Matter When It Comes to Homosexuality

We can all agree that gaining understanding is at a premium when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. So what are we to make of (the words) "homosexual" and "gay"? Are these two words alike? Are they synonymous in meaning? Perhaps they are. Then again, there are such differences in people's minds when they [...]

What’s in a Name?

The Montagues and Capulets placed great store in their brand names, even to the point of stabbing one another, but the Capulet girl was a wistful voice: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." Move from Verona across a few centuries to the [...]

Gay Pride: A Politically Incorrect Dialogue

CRANSTON:            I detect a certain weirdness about the annual “gay pride” parades in our city. TURNER:                    These celebrations seem appropriate to me, at this turning point, after centuries of branding homosexuality as abnormal. CRANSTON:               If we extend the concept of “normality” too far, the meaning becomes hopelessly diluted.  The result is that hardly anything is [...]

“Talibans of Austerity”

A sentence in the French newspaper Le Monde recently caught my eye: Il y aura toujours des talibans de l’austérité, there will always be the Talibans of austerity. It was uttered by the economist Jean Pisani-Ferry in an interview in the newspaper about the crisis in the Euro zone, and it made me think at [...]

The Queens English No More

On the last day of June a sad event in the long and noble history of the English language is scheduled to take place: the Queen’s English Society will formally be wound up. Forty years of trying to raise the awareness of fellow Englishmen about the misuse of apostrophes and semicolons, the overuse of the [...]

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