HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

July 9, 2007
From Sanitas

A Lexicon for the 21st Century

John Turner


Believable: Quality of statements which gratify our own prejudices.

Bloods: In England, a term for upper-class academic thugs, the sort who break into the rooms of other students and rough them up for the crime of reading books.

Benefaction: The only valid source of dignity.

Benevolence: A fleeting and temporary resident of the human heart.

Bible: Ancient book which came into being in a way hardly anyone wants to admit.

Big Guvmint: Snide misrepresentation by New England aesthetes of the manner in which Southerners speak of the political structure of the United States.

Bildungsroman: A story in which someone learns something important by growing up, contrary to all historical experience.

Billy Club: Instrument used by police to beat unconscious people on their heads in an attempt to subdue them.

Biographer: The most futile of writers, who pretends to know what no one can know of another.

Biography: Story that invariably ends badly.

Bireme: Ancient boat in which a fat guy with a whip lashes barebacked rowers prior to the main action.

Biretta: One of the peculiar hats worn by Roman Catholic priests, whose color shows how big a deal its wearer is.

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