Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 08:16:38 -0400 From: David Muschell 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.) > >Larry 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. David Muschell