Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Spade Work

Hillary used the term, Monday. "Spadework". In some context. And this rightwing talk radio guy now is trying to say the subtext is racist. Somehow Hillary is trying to bring race into her fight with Obama -- it's what clinton-insider (ugh, what a thought) Dick Morris predicts she'll do. She's not that stupid. Alas, this rightwing talkshow guy is, well, not a fool, not an idiot -- just someone who shouldn't have a nationally syndicated show. But it's the middle of the night, here, and he's all that's on. I don't have anything against rightwingers. I prefer conservatives, but somebody has to fix the plumbing.

Spadework means "doing research" or "making preparations". Uncovering necessary information. It's used in detective stories, like, go dig up some facts. Yes, spade is also a racist term. Whence does that derive? It's first ethnic occurrence is noted in 1928, from the playing card -- black as the ace of spades. Who's that black? Might as well say white as snowball, and then call whites balls. I don't think it's all that common anymore, spade. Sort of like coon. Aren't these terms almost jokes, now? Hard to see them as anything else.

Somebody on the radio is saying spadework comes from the work of slaves, the blacks who hoed the cotton. Supposed to be an insult used by the house slaves against the field slaves. Well, I suppose it's possible. But it doesn't fit the meaning of the term as it's used now. So, if it has a different definition, how is it the same word? Seems highly unlikely. Spade has been around for longer than English. Old English, spadu; Old Frisian, spada; Old Saxon, spado; goes back to Greek, spathe, "wooden blade, paddle." To call a spade a spade is a direct translation of an ancient Greek (and Roman) proverb -- although Erasmus mistranslated it: originally it was To call a bowl a bowl.

As for Hillary, there's enough problems with her, that her enemies don't need to manufacture them. To be credible, you have to be credible. It's like the morons in New York, who demanded some bureaucrat's resignation, and got it, because he used the word niggardly. We must not bow to stupidity. Phonemes are not meaningful. Syllables aren't, either. Only words are. Like Norfolk. Pronounced NOR-fuck. I will not mispronounce it. Deal with it. And grow up. I can just hear you tittering. Not another peep.

Hillary may well be getting desperate. She has seen her inevitability evaporate like dry ice (although, ah, ahem, I must point out that, technically, dry ice does not evaporate per se, which is, uh, ahem, properly speaking to move from a liquid to a gaseous state. No. Indeed, uh, rather, ahem, dry ice would undergo ablation). Not even much wetness is left. Just maybe a few tears. But even crocodiles can cry. They can smile, and they can cry. I'm not going to find meaning in this fact, though. We've seen too much of that, haven't we. Peep.


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