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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 27, 2008.
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Red Ken and his merry men

It isn't often I agree with Simon Jenkins. I believe this may be the first time. But if even Jenkins sees fit to criticise Ken Livingstone's excesses, there is real hope that this unprincipled creature's greed will prove his undoing, and that witty, loveable blond mop-head Boris Johnson will bring joy and hope to the bemerded streets of London. From The Sunday Times with thanks to Alan:

As economic storm clouds gather in the London sky, down below the political contest between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson for the city’s mayoralty is turning equally nasty. This is excellent news. Democracy and decorum never mix. A grudge match between the cheeky chappie and the Tory card is guaranteed to project London politics onto the national stage. And there is still three months to go.

Livingstone has been in office for two terms and is falling foul of the corruption of power. Longer terms are banned by constitutions the world over. Tony Blair’s ever slapdash legislators forgot this, giving Livingstone the chance still to be with us in the Olympics year.

Belaboured by police inquiries and media revelations, Livingstone last week bizarrely pleaded with the public to lay off him as London had a “presidential constitution” like in America. Accountability was due only at the next election. Until then, by implication, he is an elected dictator. Those who did not like it should blame Blair - a habit he has caught from Gordon Brown.

Livingstone is wrong. Presidential constitutions are rarely dictatorships. They customarily have supreme courts and independent legislatures, usually with control over presidential budgets. Livingstone suffers no such constraint. He was granted extraordinary power by John Prescott in 2000, when Prescott incidentally assured Londoners that a mayor would cost them just 3p a week. Livingstone is now costing the average council taxpayer £300 a year. His staff costs have inflated from £12m when he came to office to £33m today, while his publicity empire is estimated at £100m, including a mayoral newspaper.

Mayor Livingstone has become the same man as ran the Greater London council into the ground in the 1980s, except that the range of favoured cronies and clients has expanded. His luxuriantly upholstered front organisation is the London Development Agency, linked to his “race relations” ally, Lee Jasper, with a budget of some £400m apparently immune to serious scrutiny.

Millions flow from the LDA to such obscure outfits as the Rich Mix centre, the Green Badge Taxi School and Brixton Base, allegedly “safeguarding” 1,000 jobs in the capital. Many recipients are unknown to the Charity Commission or Companies House and the LDA paper trail is said to defy audit. This is government worthy of Haiti.

Meanwhile, local auditors are consumed with the top-down monitoring of central government targets. They have proved useless as a curb on inefficiency and corruption in local government (except for Shirley Porter, the Tory leader of Westminster). The Audit Commission’s green light to Livingstone’s regime at city hall is a scandal. So, too, is the Charity Commission’s tolerance of his use of Muslim organisations, supposedly charitable, openly to campaign for him. This would have them stripped of charitable status were they not “ethnically sensitive”.

What? Auditors, useless? Fancy that.

So who will guard the guardians? The answer, for want of anything else, has been the press in the form of London’s one serious newspaper, the Evening Standard.

The Standard has fought a lonely but effective campaign to bring the mayor’s misdeeds to public attention. In doing so it has rendered the local global. The result of its campaign has already been four police investigations into the LDA and a possible inquiry by the Electoral Commission into Livingstone’s use of public funds for personal vendettas.

The Evening Standard, incidentally, has been dubbed "the Evening Boris". Perhaps Ken shot himself in the foot with his anti-Semitic jibe at one of the newspaper's reporters.

"Mayoralty" is a strange word. Am I the only one who reads it as "maroyalty", as if there is a king in there? Evidently not. Ken Livingstone clearly thinks he's a king, but not one of those weedy constitutional monarchs with a parliament and other inconvenient trappings of democracy. No, Ken wants to be an old-style king, so he can lock Boris Johnson in a bemerded dungeon in the Tower before chopping off that witty mop-head so it can't answer back.

Posted on 01/27/2008 5:39 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Quid pro quo?

Rod Liddle on the minarets of Oxford:

Oxford’s Muslim leaders wish to broadcast the Adhan – an amplified, prerecorded call to prayer – across the dreaming spires of the city, five times a day. Many nonMuslims in Oxford are upset about this, but not the Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard. He thinks it’s terrific.

The first line of the Adhan is: “I bear witness that there is no divinity but Allah”, which you might think would grate a little with a chap in Pritchard’s line of work. But it is possible he doesn’t know this and thinks the muezzin is simply saying something agreeably consensual and inclusive, the sort of thing Pritchard might shout out if suddenly hoisted upon the spire of his cathedral just before evensong. “Hello everybody! Not absolutely sure there’s a God at all, in a real sense, but why not drop in for a nice singsong?”

In any case, Pritchard says he sees himself, somewhat presumptuously, as a “community leader of all faiths”. I’m not absolutely certain that he would be accepted as such by Oxford’s Muslims (nor indeed, the city’s communities of Roman Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Scientologists and Satanists). If, however, Pritchard can do a sort of exchange deal and get the Saudis to allow church bells to ring out across Riyadh, say, then those who object might change their tune.

Liddle realises, where the Bishop of Oxford does not, that Islam doesn't go a bundle on reciprocity.

Posted on 01/27/2008 6:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A timely reminder

David Thompson:

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. If the point of HMD seems a little fuzzy or remote, the following episode of the outstanding World at War series may serve as a reminder. I should point out that some of the material is graphic and distressing.

Part 1

Online Videos by

Part 2

Online Videos by

Posted on 01/27/2008 6:22 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Not with a bang...

As posted here, today is Holocaust Memorial Day. I hope readers will take some time to watch the excellent programmes from World at War.

About this time last year there was a kerfuffle about Bolton cancelling its Holocaust Memorial Day event. I am pleased to see that the event is now back, and is specific to the Holocaust rather than a general "Genocide Day". The danger of the latter is that it would be hijacked by Muslims to bleat about the (largely self-inflicted) "plight" of the "Palestinians", and become yet another excuse for Jew-bashing. If you think I'm exaggerating, here, from last year's Bolton Evening News, is a comment from a deranged Muslim. I quoted it in my post last year mainly because of the hilarious malapropism at the end, once read never forgotten:

I remember when I was in college a few years ago and was told by a teacher - who had been in the army, that the holocaust did not exist and it is a figment of jewish imagination. I have no reason to doubt him. The state of israel clearly practices a "terrorist agenda" including assasinations both within its borders and outside and no one says anything to them. Remember, assasinations are against international laws. Why should we whimper to the quims of these people remembering an event that did not exist?

So you can go down in history?

Posted on 01/27/2008 6:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Pakistan: Thanks, But No Thanks

New Duranty: WASHINGTON — The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretly to Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allow the Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are all active, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.

But in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covert C.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces.

Instead, Pakistan and the United States are discussing a series of other joint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions by armed Predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifying ways that the United States can speed information about people suspected of being militants to Pakistani security forces, officials said.

American and Pakistani officials have questioned each other in recent months about the quality and time lines of information that the United States has given to Pakistan to use in focusing on those extremists. American officials have complained that the Pakistanis are not seriously pursuing Al Qaeda in the region...

“The purpose of the mission,” a senior official said, “was to convince Musharraf that time is ticking away,” and that the increased attacks on Pakistan would ultimately undermine his effort to stay in office.

Other officials said that recent intelligence analysis indicated that Al Qaeda was now operating in the tribal areas with an impunity similar to the freedom that it had in Afghanistan before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001...

In dealing with the American requests, Mr. Musharraf is conducting a delicate balancing act. American officials contend that now, more than ever, he recognizes the need to step up the battle against extremists who are seeking to topple his government. But he also believes that if American forces are discovered operating in Pakistan, the backlash will be more than he can control, especially because the Taliban and Al Qaeda are trying to cast him as a pawn of Washington. One result appears to be a compromise: Mr. Musharraf is willing, they say, to accept training, equipment, and technical help, but has insisted that no Americans get involved in ground operations...

Posted on 01/27/2008 8:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 January 2008
The Air Is Serene, And The View Beautiful, On Top Of Mount Maitland

"When the history of English law is contrasted with the history of its next of kin, the existence of law French is too often forgotten. It is forgotten that during the later middle age English lawyers enjoyed the inestimable advantage of being able to make a technical language. And a highly technical language they made. To take one example, let us think for a moment of "an heir in tail rebutted from his formedon by a lineal warranty with descended assets." Precise ideas are here expressed in precise terms, every one of which is French: the geometer or the chemist could hardly wish for terms that are more exact or less liable to have their edges worn away by the vulgar. Good came of this and evil. Let us dwell for a moment on an important consequence. We have known it put by a learned foreigner as a paradox that in the critical sixteenth century the national system of jurisprudence which showed the stoutest nationalism was a system that was hardly expressible in the national language. But is there a paradox here? English law was tough and impervious to foreign influence because it was highly technical, and it was highly technical becuase English lawyers had been able to make a vocabulary, to define their concepts, to think sharply as the man of science thinks. It would not be a popular doctrine that the Englishry of English law was secured by "la lange francais qest trope desconue"; but does it not seem likely that if English law had been more homely, more volksthümlich, Romanism would have swept the board in England as it swept the board in Germany? "

From "The History of English Law" by Pollock and  (almost entirely, save for one chapter) Maitland, 1903.  

Posted on 01/27/2008 9:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Suharto Dies At 86

Indonesian President Suharto took the oath of office on March 11, 1968 in Jakarta.

New Duranty: Mr. Suharto was driven from office in 1998 by widespread rioting, economic paralysis and political chaos. His rule was not without accomplishment; he led Indonesia to stability and nurtured economic growth. But these successes were ultimately overshadowed by his pervasive and large-scale corruption; repressive, militarized rule; and a convulsion of mass bloodletting when he seized power in the late 1960s that took at least 500,000 lives.

As the leader of one of the world’s most populous countries, Mr. Suharto and his family became notorious for controlling state enterprises and taking kickbacks for government contracts, for siphoning money from state charities and for committing gross violations of human rights.

Yet Mr. Suharto remained virtually untouchable to the end, even as his successors in a new democratic system repudiated his rule. He was never charged with the killings committed under his command, and managed to escape criminal prosecution for embezzling millions of dollars, possibly billions, by having himself declared mentally incapable to stand trial. A civil suit against him was pending at his death...

Although he was a Muslim, Mr. Suharto seemed imbued with Indonesian traditions of animism and mysticism overlaid with Hindu and Buddhist teachings. In a country given to superstition, where ancient patterns of belief coexist with more modern ideas, he consulted gurus and dukuns, spiritual advisers and soothsayers who were believed to be in touch with natural forces.

Whether it was those forces or his timing, good fortune came to him. Just as the United States was becoming embroiled in Vietnam, he stood as a bulwark against Communism in Asia. The United States rewarded him with a foreign aid program that eventually amounted to more than $4 billion a year. In addition, a consortium of Western countries and Japan established an aid program that in 1994 alone totaled almost $5 billion...

Posted on 01/27/2008 9:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Day-Of-Remembrance Interlude: Yidl Mitn Fidl (Molly Picon)
Posted on 01/27/2008 9:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Photographic Interlude: From Roman Vishniac's "A Lost World"
Posted on 01/27/2008 9:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Musical Interlude (bis): Nikodem (Adam Aston)
Posted on 01/27/2008 9:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Cinematic Interlude: Siegfried Arno, Trude Berliner (and others)
Posted on 01/27/2008 9:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Synecdochic Moral-Juridical Interlude: The Nuremberg Evidence
Posted on 01/27/2008 9:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
An Historical Interlude: The Nascent State Of Israel
Posted on 01/27/2008 10:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Pig tales and pigtails

I was in Communicado last week, an internetless, wirelessless place I visit from time to time, and so have had some catching up to do. A couple of stories caught my eye, posted here by Rebecca and Esmerelda.

The first was a regular item: the piggy story. Pigs rear their ugly but allegedly intelligent heads every now and again in our tabloids and in counter-jihad blogs such as this and Dhimmiwatch. As Rebecca points out, I consider such stories to be overblown. The pattern is as follows:

  1. Local council/bank/arts council bans mugs with piglet/piggy banks/plays about pigs because they are offfensive to Muslims.
  2. It turns out that no Muslims have complained. The killjoy was an overzealous municipal boar - sorry - bore with nothing better to do.
  3. Piggy things reinstated or were never really banned in the first place.
  4. Conclusion - the story was hammed up.

This story may be different. It may certainly be irritating. But it needs to be seen in perspective.

The second story also features pigtails. Remember Sarah Desrosiers?

Here's a reminder, from Esmerelda's post:

A Muslim woman suing a salon owner for refusing her a hairdressing job because of her headscarf has more than doubled her claim for damages, after allegedly receiving hate mail.
Bushra Noah, 19, from Acton, claims Sarah Desrosiers, who runs the Wedge salon in King's Cross, behaved in a "high-handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive manner" by discussing the case in public.
She claims this caused media intrusion in her life, harassment and hate mail, and left her feeling "awkward and embarrassed". As a result, Ms Noah, who is suing Ms Desrosiers for religious discrimination, has now raised her claim for damages from just over £15,000 to more than £35,000.
Ms Desrosiers, 32, insists she rejected Ms Noah because it is essential that her employees display their hair.
The salon owner denies discrimination and says she will vigorously contest the new bid for increased compensation. She said: "I am not responsible for other people sending hate mail. I needed to highlight the case because I needed to find financial help to pay my legal bills.

Hairdressing, one may argue, is a trivial job. But this is by no means a trivial case. Ms Derosiers is an entrepreneur, a hard worker and a risk taker, a type not completely stamped out by the combined efforts of the Labour government and the European Union. Despite red tape and sky-high rents, she has so far made a go of her business. Yet she could lose everything and go personally bankrupt. Ms Noah, in contrast, risks nothing. Unemployed, through lack of talent or application, like so many Muslims in the UK, she will receive legal aid from infidel taxpayers, including Derosiers, to fund what is essentially a form of jihad. For many British Muslims jihad, as I argue here, takes the form of entitlements greedily seized from, and all too easily given by the infidels in the form of welfare payments and special treatment.

I do not believe that this case will succeed. But even if it fails, the expense and stress of fighting this and other cases (the Luton schoolgirl, the niqab-wearing grammar school pupil), gradually wears down infidel resistance. As Ezra Levant puts it: "Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment."

This case is about much more than hair. This is a jihad of attrition - and we are paying the enemy.

Posted on 01/27/2008 10:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Why do you know nothing at all about (a) the Laws of Infangthief and Egg-seisin?
This on Pollock and Maitland from the 1958 edition (third impression 1970) of Potter’s Historical Introduction to English Law and its Institutions. The only one of my text books I didn’t part exchange to buy the next years set list.
Three other main effects of the Conquest noticed by Pollock and Maitland, which were more immediate, were the introduction of :(i) the official Latin and the official or hybrid tongue known as Anglo –Norman or Norman French . . .
(i) The introduction of the official languages of the Continent brought with it distinct legal terms and added precision to our legal language. An existing institution, when clothed with a foreign name, might become something different in time. So, for instance, we do not now know exactly what the meaning of a grant of “sac and soc” in Anglo-Saxon times was but it was interpreted to mean the grant of the right to hold a Court Leet in Norman times, and was equated with the High and Low Justice of medieval Europe. The new Norman terms remained fluid enough to permit further development as time went on.
The combination of Potters work and that of Sellar and Yeatman on that subject caused our ELS lecturer some frustrating moments. But hey, it was the 70s.
Edward I was a strong King, and one of the first things he did was to make a strong arrangement about the Law Courts. Hitherto there had been a number of Benches there, on all of which a confused official (my spiritual ancestor) called the Justinian had tried to sit. Edward had them all amalgamated into one large Bench called the Kings bench, and sat on it himself.
Joking aside, however much the scientific accuracy of legal language owed to French, Latin, English or any hybrid combination that made it as sharp as the terms used by a scientist is of less importance than the current undermining of that definitive accuracy and sharpness by the well meaning but ill-advised campaign against “jargon”.
The hideous phrases of management speak are ubiquitous. But under the previous Lord Chancellor any remaining Latin phrase had to go. Habeas Corpus remains, but for how long, both the title and the concept I don’t know. An Amicus Curiae is now rare but McKenzie's Friends, in the absence of legal aid but in the presence of much dumbing down are becoming very common. That’s probably not the best comparison because they are differences in the two roles, but you see my concern.
A doctor is not told to merely refer to the epidermis as skin because it is a specific layer of the skin with functions and properties different to other layers. I will not be here in 50 years time but I can envisage the need then to reinvent the wheel, or a new precise legal language.
BTW it won't be sharia!!!!
Posted on 01/27/2008 11:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Pour Encourager Les Autres

If there is not yet, in English law, punishment for "frivolous lawsuits" -- economic punishment or, as in this case, where the Muslim plaintiff is likely judgment-proof, a jail sentence for her deliberate harassment -- then there should be. And the concept of what constitutes a "frivolous lawsuit" needs, with all kinds of people -- the cunningly greedy, the fanatical, the semi-demented --  now running litigiously loose in our lands, to be strengthened, and its application widened.

Sue the suer. Make her pay, if not in present income, in future income. If not in money, than in denial of freedom. Pour encourager les autres.

Posted on 01/27/2008 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
That Assize Of Novel Disseisin

I have been climbing Mount Maitland, on and off, for several decades, sometimes taking this approach, and sometimes that. As a boy, I was more interested in conventional mountain-climbing, and was fascinated especially by K2 (which struck me as a chess move, positively philidorish or possiblly shklovskian), that supposedly lesser peak (but it isn't true) Himalayan mountain that before Everest had been successfully assaulted by, among others, the American climber Robert Bates, who later became an English teacher and housemaster at Exeter (one can imagine how he must have been referred to behind his back). But then I put away childish things, especially those that were dangerous, and ever since have confined my feats of derring-do to Mount Maitland and other mountains in the same general range or khrebet.

Years ago -- ten? -- I attended a conference on Maitland at Downing College. No one who was there will ever  forget the fantastic tributes made, by scholar after scholar of early English law, to Maitland, to Maitland the deep-delving scholar, and the expression of amazement not at how much he got wrong, but at how much in his short life he got right, and how much of what had been written since by a hundred legal scholars turned out, in a sense, to be merely a chip off his massive maitlandian block. And then there was the poetry of all those names -- the fee tail, the common recovery, mort d'ancestor, darrein presentment, and suchlike that , I admit, I am shaky on (there will be no attempt here to pull the white-wool over anyone's eyes), and the high windows through which one could see, in a moment between rivetting talks, the beautiful lawns and pale stone of Downing's buildings, and tacked onto a vestibule's bulletin board as you entered Downing, a note left for "Mr. Saro-Wiwa" who -- that would be Ken Saro-Wiwva --  never arrived, and indeed, would never arrive again, at Downing or anywhere else. 

I was so inspired by the speakers at the Maitland Conference that upon my return to America I wrote an article that attempted to apply a concept from the early history of English law to modern twentieth century political history, in a way that Maitland would have understood. Alas, I soon misplacwed the piece, and so can't reproduce it here. But the title is all you really need to know, and I allow myself to believe that you don't have to be Milsom or Baker or Thorne in order to grasp its essence:

"Israel, the Arabs, and the Assize of Novel Disseisin."

Posted on 01/27/2008 1:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Is This A Dud Avocado?

A note in my Esperanto-Volapuk dictionary iinforms me that in both languages the word for "lawyer" comes from, is the same as, the  word for "lawyer" used in the country of Communicado. That word is "Avocado."

Since you've just returned from that land, where everything is famously kept so hush-hush, I  thought you'd be just the person to ask. Is what my Esperanto-Volapuk dictionary tells me about that word for "lawyer" in fact true?  I've been fooled too many times before.

Posted on 01/27/2008 2:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Re: avocado in Communicado
You don't say whether you mean Esperanto A or Esperanto B. Esperanto A is the standard language, and Esperanto B is a variant with as many as two speakers. Esperanto B was influenced, as explained here, by a Volapük substratum, and has consequently been more open to Volapük loan words.
In Esperanto A, a lawyer, and confusingly a dud avocado, is, as you say, avocado. .
In Volapük and Esperanto B, a dud lawyer is a barista. Baristas have all kinds of dud chat-up lines, for example, "What's an isogloss like you doing in a place like this?"
A little known fact about Volapük and Esperanto is that words borrowed by one language from another must be given back - with interest. English has borrowed from French, but no bailiffs have been knocking at the door demanding return of the loanword or goods to the value of, say, a liaison or a frisson. But when Esperanto borrows from Volapük, it must return the word after ten years with an extra suffix. The other way round is even worse. Because Volapük is the poor relation, Esperanto charges a usurious rate of suffixation, or, as they might insist, suffixificationism.
I hope this helps. Keep it to yourself.
Posted on 01/27/2008 3:03 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Case Dismissed

English did not borrow from French. It borrowed from Norman French, a nice man who used to live -- I wonder what happened to him? -- on Hartley Down, in Purley, in Surrey, and the Norman French I knew would never ever ask for those words back. But even if he took a mind to do so, one would have to admit that those words were not so much loaned as entrusted with safekeeping (what with all the wars going on in a still-divided France at the time) to what was seen as steady, impregnable England (why, after 1066, England had to worry about a military invasion from abroad only on two occasions: a little more than 500 years later, with that Spanish Armada, and a little less than a thousand years later, with that Luftwaffe and V-2 business).  

So when Norman French gave England all those words to take care of, he did so as a bailor. And there was something in it for him too. Remember, such lexical doublets as "last will and testament" served a legal and political purpose. Besides, those words from Norman French came to England many centuries ago, and there is scarcely a judge who would not rule that too much time had passed, in such a case, for the bailor to ask of the bailee that he give those words back, and expect to think that such a request could any longer be enforceable at law.

So Norman French, or by this time, most likely, Norman French's heirs and assigns, are out of luck.

Case dismissed.

Posted on 01/27/2008 3:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 January 2008
An historical meeting with a haitch in an hotel

According to Fowler:

a, an. 1. A is used before all consonants except silent h (a history, an hour); an was formerly usual before an unaccented syllable beginning with h and is still often seen and heard (an historian, an hotel, an hysterical scene, an hereditary title, an habitual offender). But now that the h in such words is pronounced the distinction has become anomalous and will no doubt disappear in time. Meantime speakers who like to say an should not try to have it both ways by aspirating the h. A is now usual also before vowel letters that in pronunciation are preceded by a consonantal sound (a unit, a eulogy, a one). Before letters standing for abbreviations or symbols the choice is usually determined by the sound of the letter, not of the word it represents, e.g. an R.A., and M.P.; but that is the sort of thing about which we ought to be allowed to do as we please, so long as we are consistent.

Still, let's not start an hysterical kerfuffle.

Posted on 01/27/2008 4:10 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 January 2008
A Musical Interlude: My Fate Is In Your Hands (Vincent Lopez)
Posted on 01/27/2008 10:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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