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August 15, 2007

Meet The New Dowd, Lame As The Old Dowd

When last we came across Monica Hesse, whose hobbies apparently including going on Queer Bar Guerilla Raids into straight bars (NTTAWWT... though I think it's safe to say she's not a political moderate), we found her wasting our time and trying our patience by writing a column that wouldn't pass muster in a college newspaper about the secret emanations of the name "Fred," as in Fred Thompson.

A mindlessly lint-picking belly-button spelunk of a hack-piece.

And now Monica attempts to do the hitherto unthinkable -- out-stupid, out-trivial the Vapid Vamp herself, the Doyenne of Ditz Maureen Dowd -- by writing typing a 1000 word opus on Karl Rove's rather unremarkable use of the word "mob." As in, he refused to be driven from office by the mob.

Here's some of her inanity:

Rove's 'Mob' Remark: An Age-Old Social Slur

In explaining the timing of his pending resignation, Karl Rove told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."

It's a three-letter grenade of a word -- so French Revolution, so frothy-mouthed peasants torching the streets.

Whether deployed innocuously or insidiously as a substitute for a neutral word like "people," it turns a statement into a putdown, a transformation immediately noted by Rove critics. From Gawker: "Only a mastermind could cast the voice of the people as a mob." Wrote Eugene Robinson in this newspaper: "Benighted fools who don't blindly trust his honesty or fully appreciate his genius are nothing more than 'the mob.' " The word is rooted in mobile vulgus, an ancient Latin phrase used by politicians, which translates into "the fickle crowd." Mobile (pronounced mo-bi-leh) referred to the crowd's tendency to change its collective, uneducated mind. In the 17th century, "mobile" was shortened to "mob." (Let us leave aside a discussion of that other Latinate derivative, la Cosa Nostra, or the opposition grass-roots group Mothers Opposed to Bush.)

The official definition of "mob" now:

(a) The disorderly and riotous part of the population.

(b) The common mass of people; the lower orders; the uncultured or illiterate.

"With most words you expect to have some change in semantics," says Ben Zimmer, the editor for Oxford University Press's American dictionaries. "This one has stayed surprisingly similar to its pejorative roots."

As in, "The mob has many heads, but no brains." (Thomas Fuller, British writer of the 17th century)

It is a word designed to rile, implying as it does that the people are not only (a) stupid, but (b) stupid in a collective cow-herd sense. (Americans would always rather be stupid in an independent way. It's a rugged-individualism thing.)

Perhaps proving this very cow-herdedness, however, many have tried to suggest our system of government is all mobbed up by brandishing a Thomas Jefferson quote: "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Sorry, guys. The esteemed founder never said it. The folks at Monticello's research library witheringly say that old saw has been dogging him for years.

Those who attempt to use the word today speak at their own peril -- and would do best to pay attention to their articles: "When people talk about a mob, they just mean a disorderly group of people," says Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley who has studied political language. The phrase " the mob," says Nunberg, has very different connotations. "It suggests undemocratic condescension. Nobody talks about 'the rabble' anymore, either. Nowadays we don't use words like that."

Ellen Goodman wanted to know why there weren't more female bloggers?

Well, perhaps because female bloggers couldn't get away with puerile pap like this. In a medium that relies upon traffic as its lifeblood, no blogger, male or female, could expect to survive long on a career of endlessly dissecting one-syllable words.

Bloggers, male and female, have to bring something a little more substantive to the table -- which means that all the idiots who would be blogging crap like this are instead on the payroll of the WaPo and NYT, having their Live Journal Lite blog-entries instead reformated for printing in national newspapers under the guise of "opinion columns."

Why aren't there more female bloggers?

Because all the lamest female bloggers have jobs in the MSM. Only the better ones actually remain in the blogosphere.

Next Up: Monica goes for a personal best in attempting to get seven hundred words analyzing another trivial word, this one with merely two letters, this time flashing back to 1997 to once and for all settle what "is" might really mean.


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posted by Ace at 07:08 PM

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