HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

February 26, 2007
From Sanitas: A Lexicon for the 21st Century

John Turner


Abstraction:  A word which pretends to stand for an idea, but most most often stands for nothing but the sound of its utterance--the devil's earthly instrument.

Absurdity:  The ongoing attempt by the public to regulate private sexual behavior.

Abuse:  Most popular word of the 1990s, which when used as a transitive verb can do some extremely odd things.

Academic:  A person who wishes to talk and write only to the initiated, and is indifferent to the insights produced by fresh perspectives.

Academics:  People who, according to Stanley Fish, like to eat shit and will eat anybody's shit in a pinch.

Academicism:  Education's opponent in the contest for the minds of students, but not the only one, and probably not the main one.

Accept:  A condescending mental act perhaps best exemplified by Margaret Fuller's proclamation that she accepted the universe.

Accepted lies:  The false public beliefs that no one dares confute, such as the notion that schooling leads to education.

Accessible:  Quality of a book that's not too hard for the reviewer to understand.

Accident:  A cause beyond the influence of our power, or of anybody else's power, as far as anyone can tell.


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