Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 08:16:38 -0400
From: David Muschell dmuschel[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Re: negatives and positives
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the article (from the last-page "Shouts and
Murmurs") in the New Yorker of 7/25/94. It's called "How I Met My Wife", and
it's by Jack Winter. I don't have a scanner or the time to type it in in its
entirety, but a couple of paragraphs should give the flavor:
"It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very cha-
lant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my
wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner.
She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was
kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way."
________________ [and so on] ___________________
Winter, as you begin to gather, is fond of both negative polarity items used in
the absence of a trigger and back-formation, and I find the essay particularly
good to give to students as an exercise. The narrator makes bones about things
travels cognito, and sees both hide and hair of things; his maculate appearance
and swerving loyalty makes him, however, something to sneeze at. I recommend
it more than abashedly. (I'm especially fond of the part where he abuses the
young woman of the notion that he's sipid and petuously proceeds--with mitiga-
ted gall--to bunk a few myths about himself.)
Yes! This is a wonderful piece. I'm appointed and gusted that you mention
it and parage your taste. (My first post on this [in the "x short of a y"
thread] gives him acknowledgement). There is also a book dealing with
words that have both positive and negative meanings: downhill (it's all
downhill from here/his health is going downhill, buckle (buckle down/buckle
under), weather (he weathered the attack, his face was cracked and
weathered). I don't have the title handy. I get very flappable about this
kind of exploration and almost lose my couth, try as I might to remain
sightly and combobulated.