Sunday, 22 November 2015

Reaching a consenseless

How The World Butchered Benjamin Franklin’s Quote On Liberty Vs. Security

That all seems a bt iffy: "According to  Wittes"?... "widely presumed"? But the writer needn't have hedged his [I assume Gregory Ferenstein is a he] bets quite so assiduously; Wittes was right. The letter to the governor was dated just over 260 years ago as I write, on 11 November 1755.

This article on the morphing of this meme (does that make it a morphed-meme, I wonder...) is worth a read, particularly in the light [a strangely inappropriate word to use about this unutterably dark episode] of the Paris évènements. Not that the words  of Benjamin Franklin [for he it was that wrote it ...
I'm surprised that the writer of the article, which starts ‘One of America’s favorite liberal phrases has been sent through the political spin machine and polished into a Frankenstein of sorts...' [I know,  I know, "'s monster"] resisted the temptation to coin the word Franklinstein. Perhaps he just wasn't tempted – some people are funny like that.
...] represent some kind of Holy Writ,  canonical in some way. If a thing is worth saying it's worth saying, whether it's ‘If a man would sell liberty...' or ‘If a person trades their Liberty...' or ‘If a man sacrifices personal liberty' or even [God help us]  ‘If a man trades in his  liberty...' or one of the hundreds of other variants (truncated and otherwise adapted to suit an argument, or a quest for Political Correctness, or  a column-width (so as to make a snappy headline) or for whatever other reason.... No one is saying ‘Only Franklin's words are necessarily true' nor ‘You may only express this truth in the canonical words'. People who talk like that are themselves fanatical self-appointed guardians of a dated text; ring any bells?

But prefacing some other words, infinitely variable but usually ending with the neat bit "deserves neither", with "In the words of Benjamin Franklin" or some such [disingenuously] thinly-veiled appeal to authority (especially the Constitutional authority of a Founding Father), should cut no ice with anyone.

Besides, what did he mean by essential in the phrase 'essential liberty'? I don‘t know, but I imagine it was closer, in 1755,  to requisite for being than to the all-purpose jolly important [to me] that is sadly common today.


PS A couple of clues:

Red character inverted? Carmine, after a fashion. (10)

I defined it, sort of - SIC (10)

Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs – but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?)

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
Nearly 50,000 views and 9,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,700 views and nearly 1,100 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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