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Certain books are so brilliant in idea and execution that they are deservedly and repeatedly revised, eventually coming to be referred to by the author’s last name long after his or her death. I hope one day they are joined by Fussell—that is, a revised edition of Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, published by Paul Fussell in 1983. But a lot has happened, classwise, over the last 31 years, including the near dying out of tie-wearing.
Looking at the Oxford English Dictionary, I was surprised to find that girlfriend was initially used in the platonic sense. My 24 year old female coworker just said she was excited to drink tonight because it was her girlfriend’s birthday. No one really got into the class aspect, but interesting generational and regional issues were brought up, as in: “I’m from New York [where] females say girlfriend all of the time. On reflection, I’d hypothesize that this girlfriend gained popularity in reaction to recent discourse about males and females and their roles.
Anne Curzan is a professor of English at the University of Michigan, where she also holds appointments in linguistics and the School of Education. Lucy Ferriss is writer in residence at Trinity College in Connecticut and the author of literary criticism, a memoir, and seven books of fiction. William Germano is dean of humanities and social sciences and a professor of English literature at Cooper Union.
Rose Jacobs is an American freelance journalist and English teacher at the Technical University of Munich.
Ben Yagoda is a professor of English and journalism at the University of Delaware and the author of, among other books, How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them. New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Weather Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score More Sports News Crime U.S. Follow Us Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube Subscribe Follow UsNewsletter App Subscriptions Subscribe Get Our Newsletter A daily blend of the most need-to-know Daily News stories, delivered right to your inbox.
Select Sport Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School More Sports Crime U.S. A writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education was fired after blasting black studies as a€?left-wing victimization claptrapa€? in a recent blog post. The publication announced the dismissal of Naomi Schaefer Riley on Monday, a week after her controversial article, a€?The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? In the condemned piece, Riley was critiquing an earlier article the Chronicle ran that discussed a handful of black studies scholarsa€™ dissertation topics a€” from black Republicanism to historical black midwifery.
Riley, a New York-based education writer and affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, ripped apart three of the studenta€™s topics, pointing out what she deemed flaws and make-believe issues. Riley added that the young scholars should a€?leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America.
But on Monday, she caved to the criticism, and apologized to readers in a€?A Note to Readersa€? on Monday.
On Wednesday, she wrote an op-ed about her firing for the Wall Street Journal, where she used to work. Were you to ask to ask me to describe myself, which you would never do, of course, being too well-bred, and were I to answer, which I would never do, I would perhaps say (rather modestly) that I fancied myself as terribly, terribly loyal.
She talked about all kinds of scandals, including her theory that “the more governments preach equality the more we seem to relish the old days when there were fixed hierarchies and strict formalities to be observed.
Fay Weldon has always examined the scary parts of what lies beneath the silk cushions and behind the closed gates. Let’s keep that in mind as we watch the next episode of Downton Abbey, which we can do without guilt—and with a toast to Ms. The Chronicle's new online opinion venue features discussion about higher education, ideas, and academic life.
In thinking about this question, I am simply going to assume that the death of my body is the end of my existence as a person. Maybe nonexistence is bad for me, not in an intrinsic way, like pain, and not in an instrumental way, like unemployment leading to poverty, which in turn leads to pain and suffering, but in a comparative way—what economists call opportunity costs. Despite the overall plausibility of the deprivation account, though, it's not all smooth sailing.
Unfortunately, rejecting the existence requirement has some implications that are hard to swallow.
If we are not prepared to say that that's a moral tragedy of unspeakable proportions, we could avoid this conclusion by going back to the existence requirement. If we accept the modest requirement, then you needn't exist at the very same time as the bad thing. Of course, if we didn't have an existence requirement at all, we could say that it is indeed worst of all never to have been born. Then there's a puzzle raised by the Roman philosopher Lucretius, who thought it a mistake to find the prospect of my death upsetting.
Thomas Nagel, a contemporary philosopher, suggests that although it's possible to imagine living longer, it isn't actually possible to come into existence earlier. If that's right, then Nagel is wrong in saying it's not possible to imagine being born earlier. But while that helps, I don't think it completely solves the puzzle, because we can in fact imagine cases in which the person thinks that if only she had been born earlier, she would have had a longer life.

When I think about the asteroid example, I wonder if symmetry is possibly the right way to go here after all. There's one more answer to Lucretius that's been proposed, by yet another contemporary philosopher, Derek Parfit. Unfortunately, while our asymmetrical attitude toward time may explain our indifference to our prenatal existence, we might still wonder whether it gives us any kind of justification for it. The Chronicle welcomes constructive discussion, and our moderators highlight contributions that are thoughtful and relevant.
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Boston College is one of a number of institutions that have purposefully thinned their applicant ranks. Boston College saw a 26-percent decrease in applications this year, a drop officials largely attribute to a new essay requirement. When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they're not worried. His Heart of Darkness journey wends boldly past unicorns (High Prole), ladies’ thimble collections (Middle), men’s hobbies (“One must learn that fishing in fresh water is classier than in salt, and that if salmon and trout are the things to catch, a catfish is something by all means to avoid catching”), the Sunbrella hat (for which he reserves a timeless—and I think appropriate—ire), “parody” hats favored by the upper-middle class such as Pat Moynihan’s tweedy bog cap, and the perils of the dark-blue visored “Greek fisherman’s cap” as advertised in The New Yorker (New Yorker ads themselves being, Fussell explains, crucibles of middle-class high anxiety). I not infrequently find myself wondering what Fussell (who died in 2012, and was a generous and friendly acquaintance of mine) would make of current preferences in, for example, dog size.
Specifying the gender of a friend says that the friend’s gender is important or telling: that there is some difference in kind between a guy friend and a girlfriend. They do not represent the position of the editors, nor does posting here imply any endorsement by The Chronicle. Her publications include Gender Shifts in the History of English and How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction.
Before moving to Germany, she worked for the Financial Times as a reporter and editor, in New York and London. His new new book is The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song. And so I did an Internet  search and viola (as we said on Ocean Avenue), Fay had already dished all the dirt early last week. Your friend is about to go on the spaceship that is leaving for 100 Earth years to explore a distant solar system.
The spaceship takes off, and then 25 minutes into the flight, it explodes and everybody on board is killed instantly. Death is bad for me in the comparative sense, because when I'm dead I lack life—more particularly, the good things in life. For one thing, if something is true, it seems as though there's got to be a time when it's true. I wound him with the bullet that comes out of my gun, but he bleeds slowly, and doesn't die until Wednesday.
For if nonexistence can be bad for somebody even though that person doesn't exist, then nonexistence could be bad for somebody who never exists. But if you do say that, then you're back to feeling sorry for Larry and the unborn billion billions. One option, presumably, is to agree that we really do need to treat those two eternities of nonexistence on a par, but to insist that our prebirth nonexistence was worse than we thought. In some cases, I think, we can easily imagine the possibility of having come into existence earlier. Yet, if we imagine somebody like that and we ask, "Would they be upset that they weren't born earlier?," it still seems as though most people would say, "No, of course not." So Nagel's solution to our puzzle doesn't seem adequate.
Say astronomers discover that on January 1, an asteroid will land on Earth and wipe out all life. Maybe in a case like this, the relevant bit of prenatal nonexistence is just as bad as a corresponding bit of post-mortem nonexistence.
Recall that even though nonexistence before birth doesn't involve loss, it does involve schmoss. The fact that we've got this deep-seated asymmetrical attitude doesn't necessarily mean it's rational.
I certainly think so, and I think the deprivation account is on the right track for telling us why. Harvey learned in May about an endowed chair in history at Brown University honoring Hans Rothfels, he was puzzled. Plus your subscription includes weekly print or digital delivery of The Chronicle and The Review and the Chronicle iPad® Edition. God forbid you get that cap in black leather (“Only six things can be made of black leather without causing class damage to the owner: belts, shoes, handbags, gloves, camera cases, and dog leashes”). That is, in none of the other three kinds of friendships—a male’s male friends, a male’s female friends, a female’s male friends—is the gender of the friend habitually, or pretty much ever, named. I am gay so I only say girlfriend when I mean romantic partner, but I don’t want to assume that’s what she meant. Feminism, generally speaking, does not believe that to be the case, and thus female feminists don’t say girlfriend. She talks about trends in the English language in a weekly segment, "That's What They Say," on Michigan Radio.

He wrote (with Rodney Huddleston) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002) and A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (2005).
He is general editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the publisher of Restless Books, devoted to contemporary literature from around the world, and co-founder of Great Books Summer Program. Bridges ruled over the kitchen, where Hudson kept his stiff upper lip when all about him were loosening theirs and where Rose of the ambiguous sexual preference sniffed out secrets as well as kept them? It can be bad for somebody who is a merely possible person, someone who could have existed but never actually gets born.
Well, very roughly, given the current generation of seven billion people, there are approximately three million billion billion billion different possible offspring—almost all of whom will never exist! But the modest version does not say that nonexistence is bad for Larry, too—because Larry never exists at all!
Alternatively, we might insist that there's an asymmetry that explains why we should care about the one period but not the other. Suppose we've got a fertility clinic that has some sperm on hold and has some eggs on hold. Someone 30 years old might reasonably think to herself that if she'd only been born 10 years earlier, she would have lived longer. So it would be helpful if we had an explanation of why we care more about loss than schmoss. He even threads through the subtle lexicon of tie patterns—from “amoeba-like foulard blobs” (Upper), signal flags (Upper Middle), musical notes (sliding downward), to Oh Hell, It’s Monday (quite low), with special horror reserved for the southwestern bola (“Says the bola, ‘The person wearing me is a child of nature, even though actually eighty years old’”).
Other women do either because the feminist message has not filtered down to them or because, on some level, they don’t agree with it. Some of his writing for Language Log is collected in the book Far From the Madding Gerund (2006).
Worse still, 20 minutes after the ship takes off, all radio contact between the Earth and the ship will be lost until its return. If you go to three generations, you end up with more possible people than there are particles in the known universe, and almost none of those people get to be born. If I accept the existence requirement, death isn't bad for me, which is really rather hard to believe. Let's distinguish between two versions of the existence requirement, a bolder and a more modest version.
In contrast, we can feel sorry for a child who died last week at the age of 10 because we can point out that she did exist, if only briefly.
If I shorten the life someone would have had so completely that he never gets born at all (or, more precisely, never comes into existence at all), then he doesn't satisfy the requirement of having existed at some time or another.
Parfit's idea, in effect, is that this preference is part of a quite general and deep pattern humans have of caring about the future in a way that we don't care about the past. That is, to the extent a woman is an upper-middle-class liberal who went to Swarthmore, she is unlikely to say “my girlfriend Kate” unless she and Kate are dating. But if we give up on the existence requirement, we no longer have any grounds for withholding our sympathy from Larry. Alternatively, I can keep the claim that death is bad for me by giving up the existence requirement.
And if we accept the modest existence requirement, we can indeed say that, because, after all, whether you live 50 years or 90 years, you did exist at some time or another. So, although we were making things worse and worse as we shortened the life, when we finally snipped out that last little fraction of a second, it turns out we didn't make things worse at all. It's easy to overlook the symmetry, because we've got this nice word "loss," and we don't have the word "schmoss." But that's not really explaining anything, it's just pointing to the thing that needs explaining.
According to Feldman, you don't actually imagine a longer life, you just shift the entire life and start it earlier. The direct address form, originating in African-American slang, as in, “You go, girlfriend!,” is another matter entirely.
But then I've got to say that it is a tragedy that Larry and the other untold billion billion billions are never born. If nonexistence is so bad, shouldn't I be upset by the eternity of nonexistence before I was born? In contrast, during the eternity before my birth, although I'm not alive, I have not lost anything. And of course there is nothing about having a life that takes place earlier that makes it particularly better.
That person, it seems to me, can correctly say that he could have come into existence earlier. So, Feldman says, it's no wonder that you care about nonexistence after death in a way that you don't care about nonexistence before birth.
When you imagine birth coming earlier, you don't imagine more goods in your life, you just imagine them taking place at a different time.
So, he concludes, it doesn't make any sense to be upset about the eternity of nonexistence after you die, either.

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