The Long View 2006-04-24: The Formation of Adjectives & the Obsolescence of Conservatism

Some grad student probably found these pictures of the Venerian atmosphere really exciting

Some grad student probably found these pictures of the Venerian atmosphere really exciting

I hadn't remembered that Spengler [David P. Goldman] had advocated in 2006 what would in a few years become the scam of relocating the urban poor away from valuable urban cores and dumping them on suburbs.

This report about the Venus Express spaceprobe saddened me:

[The European Space Agency's] Venus Express has returned the first-ever images of the Venusian south pole, from a distance of 206 452 kilometres, showing surprisingly clear structures and unexpected detail. The images were taken 12 April during the spacecraft's initial capture orbit after successful arrival on 11 April 2006.

It is not the probe itself that saddens me. As regular readers will know, I am keen to get an explanation of that funny hydrochloride chemistry in the middle layers of the planet's atmosphere. What bother's me is that adjective, "Venusian." The etymologically consistent form is "Venerian." Why so? When you make an English adjective out of a Latin noun, you normally use the oblique root. Thus, the nominative singular of the word for "head" is caput, but the English loan words are formed from the root capit- (the plural is capites, the possessive singular capitis, and so on), thus giving us words like "capital" and "decapitate." The oblique root of Venus is Vener-. "Venusian" has become common in science fiction when referring to Earth's superheated neighbor, but we may note that Olaf Stapledon used "Venerian" when referring to Venus in all his fiction.

You would think the European Space Agency would have some sensitivity to this sort of consideration, but no.

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Sane people worldwide were appalled to learn that Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, the most lethally incompetent executive since Ethelred the Unready, came in first in the New Orleans municipal election over the weekend with 38% of the vote. He is unlikely to win the runoff, however, even in New Orleans

Many things could be said about the fall of New Orleans, but perhaps some of them could be said only by a pseudonymous author writing for a foreign publication, such as Asia Times' shameless Spengler:

Of course, the traditional culture of New Orleans will disappear, like most of the traditional cultures of the world. But the people of New Orleans are better off without it...Many beautiful things will disappear because poor people no longer will suffer to make them...The best thing the US could do for the poor people of its urban ghettos is to expel them...Given the incidental costs of major hurricanes, there probably are cheaper ways to accomplish this, e.g., simply pay them to leave.

And once you've done that, you can put some new wiring and sheetrock into the shanties and ruinous tenements of the absent poor and sell them to idiot rich people at hilarious markups. I know this because that's where I live.

* * *

So you wanted pictures of Nazi UFOs, did you? Well, here are your damned Nazi flying saucers. May you have joy of them.

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Have you read one too many indictments of political correctness? Joseph Bottom at First Things gets a pile of manuscripts like that every morning, and he suggests that the point should be taken as read:

Of course, the insistence that things be done better isn’t, in itself, a solution. When we’re done moaning about how bad novels are these days, for example, we might go on to say that good literature is the corrective for bad literature. But it ain’t much help to demand that somebody write a good novel. Still, the great conservative complaint of the last fifty years has, I think, finally run its course. Time to move on.

Okay, but if you are going to stage a renaissance, you can't use the term "conservative" for the project. Perhaps this is not even an activity for the "Right."

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PS: The Nazi flying saucers are not real. Trust me on this.

Copyright © 2006 by John J. Reilly

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