HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

December 22, 2008
From Sanitas

A Lexicon for the 21st Century

John Turner


Linear Thinking: Clarity of mind as perceived by a fuzzhead.

Liquidate: A curious synonym for “kill” which appears to be used most often when a nefarious financial scheme is behind the action.

Literacy: A restrictive mode of cognition which makes the behavior of bears and moose forever a mystery.

Literary Criticism: Torture of words to make them say what they don’t want to say

Literature: An enterprise whose existence depends upon an alliance between writer and audience, a simple truth which many writers of the twentieth century seem to have forgot.

Logomachy: Arguments about what words mean, which M. H.
Abrams says always occur when anything important is discussed.

Logomania: A disorder which becomes more frequent as one approaches Washington, D.C.

Longitude: A line Parliament had to pay £20,000 to find out where it was.

Loom: A verb describing action that almost always takes place on the horizon; scarcely ever does anything loom across the waiting room at your hairdresser’s.

Louche: Quality of questionable taste which nonetheless carries a certain allure, as in an expensive Cartier watch.

Love: The feeling that causes one to believe, as Lily Briscoe did, leaning her head on Mrs. Ramsay’s knee, that one is in the presence of a mystery that will never be deciphered.

Lover: Person with whom one performs sex acts; relationship to the attending verb is the most problematic in English.


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