Roger L. Simon

My First New Word for the New Year is...

… GORMLESS. It appears in a sentence from an essay by The Economist’s John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge: “Just as the snooty continentals eventually came to admire the gormless Hollywood actor, there is a grudging willingness to rethink some prejudices about the inarticulate Texan.” I didn’t know it, so I looked it up — a chiefly British coinage for “Lacking intelligence and vitality; dull.

Well, as one whose known more than a few “gormless” Hollywood actors, I’m committing that one to memory. But there’s a lot more to this essay than that British locution. Micklethwait and Wooldridge think times are a changin’ in “Old Europe” once again and they have three reasons: the death of Arafat, the murder of Theo Van Gogh and the Rise of the of the Russian Bear. I don’t know if they are right, but it’s worth reading. (hat tip: Catherine)