Overdose of Bleach
Theodore Dalrymple on the needle and the damage (to logic) done:
Alysa’s addiction, like Frankenstein’s monster, broke free of its creator and wreaked its revenge: “Her addiction . . . killed her.” Alas, unlike the monster, heroin felt no remorse afterward and did not drift away, never to be heard from again, but rather continued to “worm” its way into other unsuspecting communities. The heroin killed by means of an overdose. This reminded me of when a woman who had drunk bleach was admitted to my hospital and the admitting doctor wrote “Overdose of bleach” in the admission notes. “What is the correct dose of bleach?” I asked him.
Two and a half millennia ago, Tsze-lu asked Confucius what would be the first thing he would do if put in charge of government. He replied that it would be to rectify names. Why, asked Tsze-lu? Because, said Confucius:If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
If only Confucius were the editor of the New York Times.
Which also makes for a nice postscript to our previous item on the Times and language. Read the rest of the Good Dr. Dalrymple's post at City Journal.