End of ADS-L Digest - 8 Sep 1995 to 9 Sep 1995 ********************************************** Topics of the day: 1. contempt vs. content (6) 2. Familiarity 3. Absinthe 4. Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply (4) 5. pi=4 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 9 Sep 1995 23:52:43 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: contempt vs. content Sylvia Swift writes: >i've heard only the contempt version in my WY>RI>OR>CA life, and assumed >(before i read about the helsinki paper) that it was a joking version >along the lines of "abcess makes the heart grow fonder." out of >curiousity, i checked _bartlett's familiar quotations_, where most of the >stuff i used to think my mom made up turns out to be. there are no >content cites, four for contempt: >publius syrius, maxim 640 >aesop, "the fox and the lion" >shakespeare, _the merry wives of windsor_, act i, scene i, line 258 >cervantes, _don quixote_ Now wait just a minute, here. Shakespeare, OK. But I'm prepared to wager that not a single one of his mates--Publius Syrius, Aesop, Cervantes--wrote or said "Familiarity breeds contempt". Since we're talking about the sentence and not the proposition--I take it that both sides of the coin are sentiments widely attested and indeed registered elsewhere in adages, as I mentioned in my earlier note ("Absence makes the heart grow fonder" vs. "Out of sight, out of mind")--the fact that Publius Syrius, Aesop or Cervantes might have written something in Latin, Greek, or Spanish that translates as "Familiarity breeds contempt" doesn't strike me as compelling evidence. I'm willing to grant that when people mention familiarity breeding something, it's usually contempt (or, as Mark Twain noted, children), but I'm still not sure whether the occurrence of 'content' (and that's conTENT, not CONtent, except to make a point) in this frame is an instance of a "pullet surprise" or simply a variant. It doesn't appear to be a geographical variant, in any case; nor is it (necessarily) a joke. Larry