Saturday, 18 July 2020

From someone else's correspondents

"The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters." - Lewis Carroll

It has long been a maxim of mine that if you don't blow your own trumpet then someone else will use it as a spittoon. For considerably less time than that, I have held the view that I must surely be able to squeeze a blog post out of the contents of the current issue of The Economist. So, bringing those two principles together can I highlight the letter in this week's magazine comparing Dominic Cummings to Sejanus; a comparison made on this blog on the 26th May.

While I'm on the subject of such correspondence, there was a letter from a seismologist in the New Scientist a couple of weeks ago, complaining about their misuse of the word 'epicentre' to simply mean 'centre'. This obviously caused me some concern, as I faced having to rewrite a large number of past entries of my blog (in a manner reminiscent of you know who), even assuming that I could find a phrase as mellifluous as 'wargaming epicentre of the lower Wharfe valley' with which to replace it. So I reached for my dictionary and found that although the first definition of epicentre is 'the point directly above the focus of an earthquake', the second definition is a synonym of centre. So, vindicated again. Having said that, 'wargaming hypocentre of the lower Wharfe valley' is growing on me for sure.

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