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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 23, 2014 / 23 Iyar, 5774

The great bobwhite question, or: In defense of the American vernacular

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | What's happening to all the bobwhite quail Arkansas used to have? It's a question that has stumped many a sportsman, bird-watcher and environmentalist in the Natural State, not to mention a mere newspaper columnist like me. But the other day I was informed I've been using the wrong term for the bird. And that the bobwhite quail, contrary to my innocent editorial assumption and the common Arkansas vernacular, is not a bobwhite quail at all.

Yes, the bobwhite quail may look like a quail, sound like a quail, even be a quail, but it is not a bobwhite quail because there is no such thing. And I now have the testimony of a Certified Wildlife Biologist to prove it -- in writing and complete with signature, officious tone and bureaucratic exactitude.

To quote Mr. Jerry W. Davis, C.W.B., of Hot Springs, Arkansas, in a letter to the editor we ran the other day, referring to a bobwhite quail as a bobwhite quail is not only incorrect but "detracts from the responsibility to educate the public by providing correct information."

That's telling us. Mr. Davis' letter to the editor was the kind that makes a fella want to stand up and cheer, like a hard right-to-the-body in a heavyweight title bout at Madison Square Garden, one of those that used to be covered round-by-round by the legendary Bill Corum (color commentary) and Don Dunphy (blow-by-blow) in radio's golden age. A Knock-Out Punch! I can still hear the crowd noises, resounding all the way from my long-ago boyhood, which was largely spent glued to the old Zenith in the breakfast room. (Exciting as the Friday night fights may have been as seen from ringside, they were a lot better on radio.)

This is scarcely the first time I've been accused, and thoroughly convicted, of linguistic malpractice. Years ago, I made the common mistake of referring to those little pin oak leaves that fall by the bushel in, appropriately enough, the fall, as, yes, pin oak leaves. You know the ones if you're from around here. They get into every corner, cranny and crack of your house, or even person. They may look like, behave like, and generally proliferate like pin oak leaves, but they're really something else, as I was promptly informed by a tree-ologist of some certified sort. Just what they really are, we've now forgotten, but those pin oak leaves are definitely not pin oak leaves, and we were duly rebuked.

It was a rebuke we still hold dear. Like finding out, thanks to some scholar of English literature, that the shorter Pepys was actually written by the longer Pepys. Or having a classicist reveal that the epic sagas of Homer weren't written by Homer at all but by another blind Greek of the same name. Gentle Reader can only imagine my chagrin. What next? Are the winged scavengers we in our rustic innocence here in Arkansas call buzzards really vultures?

Something must be done about the plethora of common errors that now mark the decline of Western civilization. Happily, there is no shortage of certified experts, with or without degrees, to correct the uninformed and irresponsible rest of us, much like the dear lady at every bridge game who corrects everybody else's pronunciation. Or the discreet censors who publish those politically correct, New and Improved versions of "Huckleberry Finn."

Somewhere in her thoroughly Southern, and thoroughly colloquial, letters to friends, which now stand as works of art themselves, Flannery O'Connor mentions a young matron of her acquaintance who reads Uncle Remus stories to her small children but is careful to correct the grammar.

Miss O'Connor conveys that revealing piece of intelligence with no comment. And no comment is necessary. It would only spoil the beauty of the thing. Any comment on her part would not only have been superfluous but a kind of desecration. To offer a comment in those circumstances would have been like my daring to edit the letter to the editor from Mr. Jerry W. Davis, C.W.B. It's just perfect the way it is.



Once again I feel wholly inadequate to the task at hand. It would take a James Thurber to treat my trespass with the solemnity it deserves. Nor am I the only one who has fallen into this grave error of calling bobwhite quail bobwhite quail. The whole state is full of such irresponsibles, just as the Arkansas woods used to teem with, forgive me, bobwhite quail.

When and if I ever reform -- would Never be soon enough? -- I might be able to pass as one of those newspapers whose language is so indistinctive it could be published anywhere in the country. Los Angeles, California, say, or New York, New York, it makes no difference, for if the name of the city didn't appear in the newspaper's masthead, the reader might not have a clue as to the paper's provenance, so devoid of the local patois might its pallid prose be.

It's happening all over the country -- and it's a big country with a big variety of vernaculars, from Texican to Cajun to Phil'ian to Brooklynese and so fascinatingly on, including Arkansawan. I'd hate to lose a single one of them, just as I'd hate to lose the distinctive upspeak of the bob-WHITE! bob-WHITE!

But perhaps one day a combination of speech therapists and certified wildlife biologists will be assigned to correct its chirp, too, just as enlightened social reformers were once dispatched throughout the South to "correct" the black dialect, now known as African-American Vernacular English, or AAVE. What a loss that would be, and not just for black folks.

Allow me to propose a reasonable compromise: Our certified wildlife biologist would remain free to call the bobwhite quail anything he likes -- it's his right under the First Amendment -- and with his kind permission (or even without) I'll continue to use the common terms and common language of this small, wonderfully colorful state. A deal?

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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