HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

September 10, 2007
From Sanitas

A Lexicon for the 21st Century

John Turner


Certificate of Deposit: Banking device for keeping people out of the stock market; works only haltingly.

Change: A noun associated with the weather almost as much as with a woman.

Character: Said to be fate, by Thomas Hardy and others, which if true, is enough to get you down in the dumps.

Characters: The masks worn by moral philosophies, according to Alasdair McIntyre; we have three nowadays: the rich aesthete, the bureaucratic manager, the therapist.

Chairperson: Woman who is acting as chairman.

Chaise: A word which reminds us that different sorts of carriages were once as important as makes of cars are now, and, therefore, that the way one gets about is an essential feature of character among flighty people.

Challenged: Word applied to persons who are no good at something.

Chandler: A functionary whose presence used to be attested by shops throughout the countryside but is now scarcely to be found, so electronically enlightened have we become.

Changeling: A fabled figure of fiction whose role in real life is both infrequent and considerably different.

Charabanc: A vehicle which encourages people to lean out and say ridiculous things.

Charisma: The ability to incite enthusiasm among stupid people.

Château: A big house in France which is now, probably, a hotel.


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