HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

January 14, 2008
From Sanitas

A Lexicon for the 21st Century

John Turner


De Soto: A Spanish wanderer who brought oranges to Florida and was rewarded by having his name attached to an ungainly automobile.

Despondency: The atmosphere in the car returning home after depositing the first child at college.

Detective: A hero on certain cop shows but an idiot on shows depicting the exertions of uniformed policemen.

Determination: A virtue reduced by psychology to a compulsion.

Determinism: Willing that there is no such thing as will.

Development: A word which infects its users with sleazy behavior, whether it's applied to throwing up unneeded office complexes, screwing money out of donors to enrich already engorged universities, discovering the astounding fact that big kids can do things little kids can't do, or helping psychologists make their patients do what they want them to.

Devoirs: Homage paid in a fancy mood.

Devotion: A sentiment that rises in value as it becomes specific in aim; an abstracted devotion--as to peace, or to humanity--isn't worth much.

Diagnosis: A prediction framed in pretence.

Diamonds: Hard objects, easy to pluck from a dunghill, according to Mr. Jefferson.

Diaper: A bit of cloth or paper strapped onto a baby to give the impression that it is angelic.

Diary: A book written when one is in a mood.


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