Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
There are few on planet Earth who’ve spilled as much ink over concerns on Western Civilization’s decline as today’s guest Douglas Murray. Nevertheless, he’s betting long on America even though he’s well aware of the onslaught recounted in his latest bestseller, The War on the West. (Order your copy today!) Murray takes us through the complications of finding things to agree on when the past is upended by our foes; how his new home country became the heart of the problem; and the very fine surgical procedure needed to not only fight the good fight but to win it.
The fellas discuss the January 6th Committee–or rather, the diversion masquerading as an investigation. They’re somewhat intrigued by the public fur flying at the Washington Post, and they describe some of their tippy top pet peeves as far as vocabulary and grammar are concerned.
(Got any linguistic peeves? Let’s hear ’em, Ricochetti!)
Subscribe to The Ricochet Podcast in Apple Podcasts (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in Apple Podcasts or by RSS feed.
The one that gets me is “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less”. Also, on the West Virginia thing, it reminds me of when I was on my honeymoon in Florida back in the 80’s. It was the days when you were asked to write your address on credit card slips and I was a newly arrived foreigner. I wrote my address and put “Virginia” as my state. The young girl shop assistant smiled and wrote a “W” in front of the state and kindly explained to the dumb foreigner: “There is no Virginia, ma’am. Only West Virginia.”
Try to use “kind of” and “sort of” meaningfully if possible. I know it’s not easy. lol
I get you. I think a lot of Republican conservatives have taken to heart that funny Woody Allen joke, only in reverse: they do not wish to be a member of any group in which they have no say over its membership.
But if wolf and woof are supposed to be the same word/sound identical, why spell them differently? At the very least, even if you don’t pronounce the l in wolf, it would still be said like “wofe” rather than “woof.”
In managing the orthographic problem created by the difference in pronunciation yesterday and today, there are no solutions, only trade-offs, as Thomas Sowell once said about economics (i.e., about “everything”)
A bit of critical thinking will quickly answer the question, “which choice will maximize value to teachers of the society’s language?”
Hmm, not sure I care what makes things easier for teachers, if that’s your point.
Oops, you’re right. He says he speaks Pittsburgh-ese.
I’m surprised nobody has mentioned “nucular” vs “nuclear.” A lot of very smart people pronounce this wrong. Perhaps it’s a bit of a speech impediment.
My other favourites include “loose” when you mean “lose.” At least they are both common words.
Or “lightening” when you mean “lightning.” They probably don’t know lightening means “a drop in the level of the uterus during the last weeks of pregnancy as the head of the fetus engages in the pelvis.”
Speaking of “bemused,” Bruce Cockburn uses both amused and bemused correctly in his song “Birmingham Shadows” from the album “Charity of Night.”
“Under velvet trees, towering like the sides of a well
Before the empty two office blocks
Which we’re admonished not to enter
Policeman studies us, finds us confusing
More amusing than threat
Moves on, bemused”
Policeman was both amused and bemused at the same time!
It’s a funny joke, but it’s not Woody Allen’s. Yes, he quotes the remark in ANNIE HALL, but he attributes it to Groucho Marx.
I adore Douglas Murray and consider his new book a must-read, but, like others on here, I wish he had pushed back at Rob‘s rather dubious claim that Woke isn’t as popular as we think it is because — look, everybody! — Maverick and Hamilton both made money! Q.E.D!
Sorry, Rob, but that’s nonsense. Woke is absolutely metastasizing among Americans under age 30.
At least it’s not atsk.
Well, really axe is fine, as long as safety rules are followed. Whenever I say, “I’d like to axe you a question,” I always follow it by saying, “Please put on your safety goggles and stand back” and then I strike, always with a freshly sharpened blade. Sharp axes are actually safer then dull ones, studies show.
Happy June 12, @peterrobinson !
Not used to giving up on the flagship podcast six minutes in.
Please leave all the bile for the end in future, gentlemen.
A sharp axe is a polite axe.
Wow. “Coterie of Eunuchs.”
I like Ricochet and I value the rare (increasingly rare) opportunity to speak somewhat freely online. But I haven’t regularly listened to the podcasts in years. Sigh.
I share your adoration for Douglas Murray. As for Maverick, I see its popularity more as pushback against woke culture than as a sign that people aren’t that into woke (elicited at least in part by the return of the Taiwanese flag on the back of his flight jacket).
Exhibit #1: Mitt Romney
The worst offense against the English language, of course, is demanding that biological males be called “she/her” and vice versa.
Re: gatekeeping, I wish I could agree with Murray, but what happens when the simplest of gatekeeping cannot be properly performed? I was forced out of my biotech job (20 year industry veteran) last November because I would not take a COVID vaccine. This was because until 5 minutes ago, time was an important variable in clinical trials. (I still think it is, but I’m in the minority now.) I heard from a trusted colleague that he asked someone in upper management why we were forcing out or firing people for this reason, and she said, “We don’t want people that don’t believe in science working for us.”
This is a very similar story to the publishing story Murray told, with one important difference. The scientific world should be even more of a clear meritocracy than the publishing world. You never really know which book is going to sell. You do know which scientists have the education and background to competently do the work. Yet that “gatekeeper” was willing to ignore all of that for a personal choice that she viewed as crazy. Thus, I am leery of the idea of gatekeepers, no matter how many Marjorie Taylor Greene’s there might be out there.
A professor of mine for historical linguistics, an Indo-Europeanist and a Sanskrit expert, told us that languages with an alphabetic writing system (I used the term broadly) may start off phonemic but then wind up morphophonemic. (Phonemic does not mean phonetic.) “Breath” and “breathe” were once phonemically regular. No longer. One could revise the spelling, e.g. “breth/breeth”–but then should the latter be breedh, cf. thigh vs. thy? Japanese kana orthography was revised after the war to make it more phonemic, and many Chinese characters are now written in somewhat simplified forms. Older, well-known texts are often converted to conform to the new conventions. Compromises…Literacy and education can lead us to outsmart ourselves. I’m both amused (not bemused!) and irritated when I hear English speakers pronounce “coup de grâce” as though “grâce” were homophonous with the gras of foie gras. The assumption seems to be that if one simply drops the last consonant of any French word, one will sound like a true cosmopolitan.
Murray is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who happens to have a nice sounding accent. His definition of “right wing whacko” is any conservative who thinks normalizing homosexuality is a bad thing for Western Culture. Murray is given far too much attention by conservative media, not that Fox is very conservative in any meaningful way anymore, but I digress.
That’s a bit harsh. For starters, at least they’re not saying “grace”. Also, koo d’ grah is how most Americans hear it most of the time.
Finally, I am reminded of the admonition not to crap on pronunciation too hard — they may have learned it by reading, which is rare enough. Something like that was attributed to the usual suspects.
I have taken a break after making it to about 55 minutes in, where Douglas Murray has said he’s moving to America to be at the heart of the problem, the source of the rot that is slowly spreading to the innocent, virgin shores of England.
First, one admires his sense of self-regard. As if, by his moving to America and listening to the pearls of wisdom that drip from his mouth, we — the unwashed heathens — shall reform our ways and come to righteousness. The level of arrogance is impressive, to say the least.
And as to the idea that America is the source of what’s wrong, culturally, with England, well, that’s a pretty convenient attitude for an Englishman to have, isn’t it? Rather absolves one of blame or responsibility, doesn’t it?
I had no idea the British people just mindlessly followed along with what America did. I always gave them more credit than that, owing to the few British people I’ve met.
And I’d love to ask my great-great uncle and my grandfather what they thought about America being the heart of what’s wrong in England. They’d probably have a pretty interesting perspective, since they both had to get on ships and sail across an ocean to fight in wars that started in that great unsullied land that is Douglas’ Europe.
I love the diverse opinions with have on Ricochet — both the podcasts and the site. But Douglas Murray strains that feeling.
Usually I just skip over the interviews with people that I can see are going to be… well, frankly, silly… but I went ahead and listened to Murray. What a waste of time.
Douglas Murray is one of the West’s greatest intellectual champions.
In The Strange Death of Europe, he braves charges of Islamophobia to tell the truth about Muslim immigration into Europe.
In The Madness of Crowds, he challenges the vicious mobs of the transgender movement, among other topics.
And he does it so deftly that liberals find it hard to dismiss him out of hand as a right-wing loonie.
Yeah, Jonah Goldberg used to write good books and stuff too. Doesn’t make him right about anything now.