Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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January 23, 2011
the threat of Continuous Partial Attention disorder

How possibly to defeat it?

One means: punctuation:

The use of commas, semicolons, and brackets, supplies the place of inflections, and enables us to introduce, without danger of equivocation, qualifications, illustrations, and parenthetical limitations, which, with our English syntax, would render a long period almost unintelligible unless its members were divided by marks of punctuation. . . .

It is an advantage of no mean importance to be able to grasp, in one grammatical expression, a general truth, with the necessary limitations, qualifications, and conditions which its practical application requires and the habitual omission of which characterizes the shallow thinker; and hence the involution and concentration of thought and style, which punctuation facilitates, are valuable as antidotes to the many distracting influences of modern social life.

The above was written by George Perkins Marsh.

In 1859.

See his Lectures on the English Language, herein, specifically lecture XIX, the first of three terrific lectures entitled "The English Language as Affected by the Art of Printing," p. 414-15.

Stumbled onto the above volume while researching the word "nolonté," used a few weeks ago, here, in a discussion of the thought of Vladimir Jankélévitch.