38 thoughts on “Hitch inspires another word

  1. Perhaps:

    ‘A child, disabused of religious indoctrination, who is encouraged to read broadly and to seek the truth unapologetically.’

    ‘A child void…’ makes me queasy.

    Good word, though, but.

          1. ‘…innocent of…’
            ‘…uncontaminated by…’
            ‘…unpolluted by…’
            ‘…undefiled by…’
            ‘…unsullied by…’
            ‘…untainted by…’
            ‘…unadulterated by…’

            But, of course,

            ‘…free from…’

      1. True, my anaemic attempt at Biercean lexicography; the ‘disabused’ is a reference Dawkins schtick on ‘Christian chil…’.

        Oh, if you have to explain a joke, it can’t be any good in the first place. As you were.

    1. Replace “disabused” with “without”, and I’d essentially agree.
      To be disabused of a notion strongly implies that one previously subscribed to that notion.

      1. On the subject of nominative determinism, BBC Radio 4 had an item today. These are all true:

        The leader of the British ‘Howard League for Penal Reform’ – Frances Crook (Frances means free)
        The priest, The Reverend Vickers.
        Scottish legal firm: Welch, Steele & Robb
        The soccer defender: Mark de Maan

        I know of some Twickenham undertakers: Wake & Paine.

        Pupils’ daft names: Tamara Knight

        And the toweringly incomparable Pocahontas McGinty

          1. I got Tamara Knight from my mflresources chatroom (MFL – Modern Foreign Languages); same with Pocahontas McGinty; you’ve punctured my delusions, Dr. Ant, I’ll never trust a Spanish teacher again.

  2. Well, it sure has an interesting word origin, and it’s a rather nice sounding, one of those words that seems to harmonize with its meaning. It has those hard British consonants softened by the bouncy “-ing.” And as much as I admire Mason and her mother, the word “crumpacker” doesn’t land on ear in quite the same way.

  3. “seek the truth unapologetically”

    I loved Hitchens’s writing on atheism, but to say he sought the truth, given his position on Iraq, is false in my opinion.

    1. What’s worse, his behavior in his defense of his Iraq position was far beneath the standards he applied in his defense of atheism. John Cook at Gawker put it well:

      If you dispute the Bush Administration line that “terror” must be fought in Iraq lest it be fought on our soil, Hitchens alleged, you are guilty of dispensing “sob-sister tripe pumped out by the Cindy Sheehan circus and its surrogates.” Sheehan’s son had been dead scarcely a year at the time Hitchens wrote this…It was thrilling and gratifying to see that articulate viciousness deployed against the Clinton cartel, or Mother Teresa, or Henry Kissinger—against power and pretense. To see it deployed in favor of war, on behalf of a dullard and scion, against the hysterical mother of a dead son was nauseating.

      But surely Christopher, you recognize that the war has been badly bungled even if all your hearts were in the right place, right? “We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves.” For Christopher Hitchens to identify a subject about which no argument is required is a rare thing indeed. Abu Ghraib—why argue? The $9 billion in cash that simply disappeared—what’s to argue? Two months after the Hitchens wrote those words, U.S. Marines massacred 24 men, women, and children in Haditha. No need to argue.

      Hitchens never saw one’s death as an occasion to paper over the misdeeds of one’s life (recall his outstanding and perfect take-down of Jerry Falwell). Most of the time, I deeply admired Hitchens, but he was far from perfect.

      1. At least remember that Hitch had many Kurdish friends who had watched as their country was bombed and gassed by Saddam over many years. In fact after the first Gulf War, until the coalition enforced a no-fly zone, entire villages were massacred by Saddam’s helicopter gunships. Following the second (and for Saddam, decisive) gulf war the Kurds gained a semi-independent democratic secular republic.

        1. Yes, I remember. It was always the Kurdish regions of Iraq that Hitchens brought up too – and there is little doubt that the Kurds are better off, for now at least. If the US government wanted to go to war to liberate the Kurds (and that was a result of the US invasion that was predictably postive), then the US government had an obligation to its own people and to the people of other countries to tell the truth. Instead, we got lies: we got 9-11/Saddam connections that were lies, we got WMD claims that were lies and we got Jeffersonian democracy scenarios that were neoconservative fantasy. The result of the Iraq war, an extraordinarily corrupt theocratically dominated semidemocracy was a likely result – as was understood by even many of the people who later supported the war. How many kids joined the US military after 9-11 because they thought they were liberating the Kurds and how many thought they were joining for some other reason?

        2. One more thing: If Christopher Hitchens, one of the finest rhetoricians who ever lived, can’t come up with something better than ‘the Dixie Chicks are sluts’, and Cindy Sheehan is ‘a sob sister’, I’m inclined to think he didn’t have real counterarguments to his detractors arguments – and I’d guess that as time went on, he knew it.

          1. You acknowledge the huge benefit to the Kurds of the war then immediately ignore it, not something any Kurd would do.

            What Americans or Britons now think of their government’s sometimes-lying propaganda is surely a secondary issue.

            1. Spoken like a antidemocratic imperialist. The lies the Bush and Blair administrations told may be secondary to the Kurds, and that it is understandable from the Kurds point of view. It isn’t secondary to the people who followed the liars into a war under false pretenses. If the neoconservatives want to fight a war, let ’em put together a private army and fight it themselves. If the want to take their fellow citizens along, then their fellow citizens deserve to know why they’re going.

  4. The thought of being called a ‘hitchling’ brings Noel Coward to mind:

    One day you’ll clench your tiny fists
    And murder your psychiatrists!

  5. I think we miss the point if we play smartest guy in the room.

    Found this online:

    “Devoid” is always used as an adjective, while “void” can be used as an adjective, a verb, or a noun. As adjectives, “void” and “devoid” mean basically the same. “Void” means empty; “devoid” means empty, but only after something has been taken away. “Devoid” is usually followed by “of.”
    Example: After her husband’s death, her life seemed to be devoid of meaning.

    Noun: an empty space, a vacancy
    Verb: to empty, to clear
    Adjective: empty, vacant, unoccupied

    I like empty. Empty just means it isn’t there.

    Also, the word doesn’t imply “fan of” or “follower of.”

    See here: http://socraticmama.com/2011/12/16/hitchling-hitch-ling-noun/secular-parenting

      1. There’s a town in Northamptonshire called Irthlingborough.

        As the leader of the council no doubt openes proceedings, “My fellow Irthlings…”.

        1. The town’s name does indeed come from Old English forms of “earthling”, namely “erthling”, “yrthling”. But the OE word doesn’t mean “inhabitant of Earth”, but “ploughman”.

          “Pathetic ploughmen!” doesn’t have quite the same ring!


          1. Yup,

            I have ‘yrđling’ in my ‘A Concise Anglo-Saxon dictionary’, 2008; husbandman, farmer, ploughman. Also in Aelfric, yrđling is given as ‘wagtail?’. A mid-nineteenth century reference (Herrig) has the spelling ‘earthling’.

            The thorn, the ‘th-‘ sound looks like a strange ‘d’ in this font.

            No jokes, just relentlessly pedantic orthography.


    1. So, do you tell them to, ‘Lay down all thought, surrender to the void’? (The Beatles -Tomorrow Never Knows)

      Seems a bit of a hi-falutin’ phrase for ‘to have a pi..’.

Leave a Reply