Today in Vaguely Discomfiting News

04Apr07

I just don’t know how to feel about this news item:

Police to launch road safety blitz in Toronto’s Chinatown

It’s like they’re coming right out and saying they think Asians are bad drivers. One gets the idea they’re only focusing their crackdown on that neighborhood because we don’t have a Womantown.



3 Responses to “Today in Vaguely Discomfiting News”

  1. 1 thea

    Why was Helen Keller a bad driver? Because she was a woman.

  2. 2 TJIC

    “Discomfiting” means “entirely overthrown” or “destroyed”. Thus “vaguely discomfiting” is a bit of an oxymoron. The word “discomforting” would be more appropriate.

  3. I’ll refer to the usage note at the American Heritage Dictionary here: “It is true that discomfit originally meant “to defeat, frustrate” and that its newer use meaning “to embarrass, disconcert” probably arose in part through confusion with discomfort. But the newer sense is now the most common use of the verb in all varieties of writing and should be considered entirely standard.”

    But you raise a good point. It’s kind of like how “decimate” changed its meaning from “to destroy a tenth of” to “damage”. I’m certainly not in favour of the language becoming more imprecise just because a bunch of yahoos kept misusing a word. But is this a case like “decimate” where “discomfit” had a unique meaning of its own? Or was it just a synonym of “defeat” before becoming synonym of something else? If the former, I should change it. If the latter, I think I can just leave it.

    Also, does anyone know if Hellen Keller ever had sex? I’m just wondering.


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