Baltimore Evening Sun (30 January 1912): 6.


The daily thought from “Also sprach Zarathustra”:

That everybody is allowed to read spoileth reading.

The betting odds in the down-town drinking-rooms, as noted by my alert todsauefer:

9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 to .000000000000000000000000000000000000001 that none of Bob’s bids on paving ain’t thrown out on no technicalities. No takers.

Hot answer of the Hon. Edward Hirsch, in the Labor Leader, to the allegation of the Hon. William H. Anderson that money has been used in the past to defeat local option legislation at Annapolis:

Mr. Anderson * * * is responsible for this monstrous and outrageous, not to say damnable, insult and blackmail aimed at the intelligent and honorable gentlemen comprising the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Maryland. This hydra-headed piece of effrontery almost challenges human belief. It has insulted outright the manhood and self-respect of every member of the Legislature. * * *

A noble defense of the innocents! A dignified and convincing answer to insidious scandal! The Legislature of Maryland is, and always has been, an angelic choir of pure spirits. Not a single member, at present or in the past, is or ever has been a bribe-taker or a jackass. All statements to the contrary, and even all proofs to the contrary, are forged, dubious, inauthentic and bogus.

Them stuffers don’t seem to be no nearer getting into court today than what they was before nobody ever heard nothing about them.

Harsh words about the League for Medical “Freedom,” Maryland Branch, in the current issue of the Maryland Medical Journal:

The evident lack of medical knowledge among those most loud in the League * * * is laughable. We can only draw the conclusion that the League * * * is composed of self-seekers who desire * * * to secure the passage of laws enabling them to practice medicine in a manner more healthful to their pocketbooks than to the general interest of the community.

An oblique thrust, it would seem, at those Christian Science sorcerers who are now forbidden, by Article 43, Section 101, of the Code of Public General Laws of Maryland, to take money from the folk they “cure” of “cancer.”

The agents of political argumentation under a free republic, in the order of their efficacy:


Of the eight American cities of more than 500,000 population, Baltimore is the only one without fair representation in the Legislature of its State. Baltimore also has the highest death rate, the highest general tax rate, the worst streets and the largest brigade of boomers. Every year the taxpayers of Baltimore are robbed of $1,100,000 by the unjust and piratical tax laws of the State. That sum, if spent in the city might reduce the death rate from 19.2 to 17.2, or pave 20 miles of streets, or reduce the tax rate by 35 cents, or bribe the boomers to let us alone.

Contribution to a new and accurate dictionary of the English language:

Politician, a., A muleteer; a swineherd.

If you want any tickets to the convention, the best way to get ’em is to join your ward club and pay your dues in advance.

Concluding remarks on the use of slang in the newspapers, and particularly in the Sunpaper, continued from some day or other last week:

mains—the fluent body of popular simile and synecdoche, hyperbole and prosopopœia—is of undoubted value and respectability, and so a newspaper is fully justified in using it.

This is not saying, of course, that slang, even good slang, is allowable in all written discourse. Far from it. When a man essays to set down ideas in permanent form—that is to say, in such form that they will be comprehensible, for long periods of time and to all persons who use the language in which he writes—then he must be careful to use phrases of exact and unchanging meaning. In brief, he must write the literary language, in which metaphor, so far as it exists at all, has become conventionalized, and into which new expressions are not admitted until their newness has long since vanished.

But the writing in a newspaper has no such aim. It is not for tomorrow. but for today. Its one purpose is to convey and interpret the news of the world in terms comprehensible to all who can read. Therefore, it may property admit—and even should admit—the coin of current discourse. It should use the figures of speech—i. e., the slang—in everyday use by ordinarily intelligent people. It should be hospitable to every fresh invention that serves a real need. It should add to its equipment every metaphor that conveys a common idea more clearly, and as decently as the older and more complex phrases. The objection to the literary language, as a means of conveying ideas of the moment, is that it is verbose and ponderous and hence, to many persons, difficult to understand. That ponderosity arises, in the main, from its paucity of metaphors. Disdaining short cuts, it runs to exact descriptions. And the words it uses in those descriptions are words carefully protected, words not subjected to the buffeting and erosion of everyday usage, words esteemed for their unchangeableness and therefore kept carefully in cotton batting.

The spoken language has no such esteem for words. It is constantly standing them on their heads, disemboweling them, melting them down, recasting them, discarding them for newcomers. It is enormously hospitable to novelties, to short cuts. And that hospitality is what gives English, or, indeed, any other living tongue, its fluency, its elasticity, its capacity for meeting the changing needs of millions of people.

When the literary language changes at all, it is by reason of invasions from the spoken language—invasions commonly restated with violence. Thomas Carlyle led such an invasion. He was denounced in his day for his “looseness” and “carelessness,” but he yet managed to save literary English from the Johnsonian clumsiness into which it had fallen. In our own time, Meredith led another such invasion. In the United States the thing is usually done by the newspapers. Are such invasions to be deplored? If you think so, just compare a New York Sun editorial of today with any page of the pompous and windy stuff written 75 years ago by Edgar Allan Poe.

Twenty-five thousand dollars for boosting Harry—but not a darn cent for typhoid!

Only 60 days more of gabble and gobble at Annapolis! Let us give thanks to the wise old fellows who made the Constitution!

Lately cured of neuralgia by the hideous poisons of allopathy, I now offer a dozen fresh eggs to any mental healer who can cause a relapse by projections of Malicious Animal Magnetism.

At all events, it is comforting to reflect that the country’s loss will be our gain.