“The Quotta and the Quottiod”
by Vére Çélen
From Speculative Grammarian CLI.4, October 2006
Reviewed by Cadwallader Colden
Professor, Department of Theoretically Applied Physics
University to be Named after Our Nation’s First Nobel Laureate
(Yes, We Will Have One Eventually)
Denser than the Dunciad—A Review of “The Quotta and the Quottiod”
article essay screed verbal performance error exemplifies the sparse culture growing up, or at least thrown up, in the sickly patches of verbiage typical of the SpecGram band (and brand) of sinecured ersatz rebels. The modus eludendi of its perpetrator can be seen in the pitiable subterfuge of arguing from faulty premises: “Simple examples of the two opposing styles are given in (1) and (2). These sentences have the rare property that even the most ardent adherents on either side of the argument agree on their acceptability as written—nil!” Quite so, quite so indeed, and in the entirety of the article its perpetrator refuses to give an honest specimen showing the desirability of the proposed change; it is as if a theologian were to say that one must split the difference by writing one half of ι in order to avoid choosing between ὁμοούσιος and ὁμοιούσιος—a bit of silliness both sides would agree is pure αἵρεσις bereft of ἄρεσις (never mind ἀνδρεία).
Only after this bit of failed legerdemain does the perpetrator then attempt to enchant the reader with the needed misdirection: The sad and sordid tales of the OdCom and the interrobang, earlier attempts to split the difference between sibboleth and shibboleth by writing șibboleth and waving the hands while muttering something lily-livered about archiphonemes. Even worse than composing a treatise on poetry that classifies its subject into “limericks” and “inferior,” the perpetrator not only plays tennis with the net down but enlists a volleyball and a cricket bat; the product is more degenerate than a Bose–Einstein condensate at 0.01K. In short, this largely negligible contribution to the collective cowardice of humanity is a typical attempt to reach a Hegelian synthesis of tertium non datur and equine flux.
The phrase “drunk as Cooter Brown” is a fixture of the English of the southern states of the US. The most entertaining story of the origin of the phrase is that Cooter Brown lived right on the Mason–Dixon Line and, having decided to sit out the Civil War entirely, proceeded to get stinking drunk every day of the war so that recruiters from either side would be forced not to enroll him in the army. In much the same way, the perpetrator of this screed was hung over like Cooter Brown, and while the resulting gastric voiding has contributed colorfully to the field, it was most unkind to force the reader to share Cooter Brown’s headache.