Most Awkward Sentence Ever

When reading old books, a certain type of person likes to laugh or snicker when they come across some quaint old bit of vocabulary that happens to have changed slightly in meaning in the intervening decades.

You know the things I’m talking about. Describing someone who is merely strange as queer, or someone happy as gay. Mentioning throwing another faggot on the fire, perhaps.

Language changes. We all know this, and most of these instances really aren’t that noteworthy, let alone funny.

Sometimes, though…

Read, if you would, the following excerpt from a novel, and see if you can spot the bit that doesn’t mean what you probably first interpreted it as.

Did you spot it? Here, just to make clear what we’re talking about…

A man leaps out of bed… after grasping at “his vanishing manhood”. (!)

No, this isn’t some erotica title. He isn’t engaging in some early-morning self-abuse. The book is Out of the Air, a justifiably long-forgotten novel from 1920 by the late Inez Haynes Gillmore, who was exceedingly fond of her thesaurus. For “manhood”, in this case, you should read “courage”, not… “penis”.

Sorry. Some things are so horrible they have to be shared. Shared pain is lessened, y’know.

Published in: History | on January 28th, 2013| 4 Comments »

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  1. On 4/3/2013 at 9:26 am jimme blue Said:

    Well, it’s been a good run (been reading since at least Nov 2009) and I’d like to thank you for what at one time was my favorite blog. I hope that your lack of output recently is due to great and wonderful things in the real world.

    Good luck and thank you!

  2. On 4/28/2013 at 6:16 am Phil Said:

    Although I suppose abject fear can cause one’s manhood (in the more modern sense of the word) to diminish significantly (assuming one is male).

    Somewhat off-topic, someone is still interested in your Jan. 6, 2007 post on about Dean Scheu. Within the last couple of weeks they submitted a bid request or two, on a contract staffing web site, to push the Cryptome post down to the fifth page of Google results when their name was searched. (If you care, and would like more detail, email me.)

    Slugsite: an interesting blog.

  3. On 12/12/2013 at 8:23 am Patriot Said:

    As America’s engineered economic implosion accelerates, the parallels with how the Roman empire fell are staggering. It is now abundantly clear that the ruling class is preparing for a planned economic implosion after which they will declare themselves the saviors.

    A recent Reuters report highlighting how the Federal Reserve has been telling major banks in the U.S. to prepare for a “worst case scenario” financial collapse and that these banks would not be able to rely on government support underscores once again how the elite are positioning themselves to exploit the next leg of the orchestrated financial meltdown.

    Just as happened in the aftermath of 2008, the ruling class is getting ready to offer the solution of more centralized control and more financial serfdom as the solution to the problem they created in the first place.

    By making the public and industry beg for QE3, the Federal Reserve will once again try to manipulate the crisis to portray itself as the guardian of a fragile system and accumulate yet more power.

    America is now ruled by a gaggle of completely corrupt financial terrorists who will stop at nothing to hollow out the country in pursuit of their own maniacal and selfish gain.

    This precisely parallels Rome’s rapacious ruling Emperors and Senators of the fifth century who were so obsessed with seizing wealth and control that they ended up destroying their own culture, their own country and its empire in the process.

    Just as in Rome, while the ruling elite got filthy rich, the people struggled and starved.

    More than 100 million Americans are now on government welfare, a third of the entire country, and that figure doesn’t even include Social Security or Medicare.

    22.3 million households and 46.5 million Americans have now entered technical poverty and live off food stamps.

    Just as in Rome, where the need to constantly generate revenue to satisfy the cost of defense and a sprawling bureaucracy ultimately led to the country becoming bankrupt as Nero and subsequently emperors hiked up taxes and debased the currency, America is hurtling towards a similar fate.

    Entitlement spending, military defense and a bloated federal bureaucracy has left the United States over $17 trillion dollars in debt, and the prospect of QE3 threatens to sink the dollar as the world reserve currency for good.

    Just as Romans found their currency becoming increasingly worthless, the U.S. dollar has lost almost 100 per cent of its value since 1900.

    Just like Rome, America was once a Republic that has been hijacked and turned into an empire. Just as the Roman Empire crumbled under its rulers’ inability to afford its maintenance, America’s overseas presence (the U.S. has troops in a staggering 130 countries), is bankrupting the country.

    Like America, Rome once had an influential middle class whose wealth allowed them to have a political stake in their country. Merchants and traders were able to prosper because taxes were modest and economic regulation was relaxed. However, beginning in the third century B.C., the Roman economy became more regimented and taxes were raised. This eviscerated and disenfranchised the middle class, just as has unfolded in America, where middle class neighborhoods are disappearing and income is polarized between a struggling downtrodden mass of people and a tiny rich elite.

    When the economic collapse arrives, it could be more brutal than anything America has experienced in its history as a nation.

    Aside from economic factors, cultural and societal parallels can also be drawn between Rome and 21st century America.

    Rome’s increasing use of illegal immigrants to do agricultural work its host population refused to undertake mirrors America today. As Peter Heather writes in “The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and Barbarians”, “The Roman government allowed uncontrolled hostile immigration to dissolve the fabric of their civilization. Illegal and legal Immigrants grew more powerful while exercising their own character of their cultures. They did not adopt Roman ways. Second, vast blocks of once Roman lands became foreign held and even the Roman population, once outnumbered, was no match for hostile immigrants.”

    “Factors that destroyed Rome now manifest in accelerating numbers in America. Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco, Raleigh and all large cities suffer millions of illegal immigrants. Uncounted millions of them cannot and do not speak English. Millions work under the table without paying taxes. Millions use our hospitals without paying. They immigrate but do not assimilate. They colonize in ethnic enclaves separated from Americans. They fracture our country,” writes Frosty Wooldridge.

    Just as Roman rulers created bread and circuses to distract their population from the fact that the country was collapsing, Americans are also enraptured by entertainment and sports, which in turn encourages them to lead superficial, meaningless lives.

    As Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 A.D.) wrote, “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions–everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”

    This loss of interest in civic duty and its replacement with an obsession for entertainment and folly is routinely cited by scholars as one of the primary reasons behind the collapse of Rome.

    As Kyle Trottier writes, “In many modern books written about Ancient Rome and her people, the ancient Romans are often portrayed as people who enjoyed violence and thought it amusing to see people being injured and killed to the point of obsession. It is now common knowledge that, in Ancient Rome, people often attended (and enjoyed) gladiatorial fights to the death, wild beast hunts, naval battles and chariot racing. Some public thinkers today have suggested that “entertainment” today, as it was in ancient times of Rome, reflects the decline of culture, into a plethora of lust, greed, violence, selfish individualism and bad behavior. Some Scholars suggest that history is repeating itself and we are now in a reoccurring cycle of moral decay and social breakdown. From the excessive amount of glorified violence in Hollywood movies, video games, music and on the internet, one can easily see the downward spiral of decency.”

    The moral decay of the Roman culture is also being aped almost precisely in America. While fertility and birth rates of the host population continue to plummet, sexual promiscuity and infidelity is lauded. As Dr. Carle Zimmerman’s 1947 book Family and Civilization documented, America shares the pattern of its moral decline with Rome. Zimmerman identified a number of behavior traits that signaled the decline of a civilization. These included “the breakdown of marriage and rise of divorce,” “acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity and rebellion,” “refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept their family responsibilities,” “a growing desire for and acceptance of adultery” and “increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.”

    All of these traits have come to shape American society in the 21st century.

    It does not take a crystal ball to see where all this is heading, and the planned economic implosion is going to be the trigger. Europe has already been rocked by riots over the past two years and federal authorities are already preparing for similar scenes in America only on a far bigger scale.

    As Ron Paul has warned, the coming engineered financial breakdown is leading directly to domestic unrest which will inevitably lead to a state of martial law.

    Riots prompted by food shortages, inflation, inequality and political corruption are inevitable should the ruling class continue to deliberately implode the economy – as is the brutal police state response that will come as a result.

    Just as Rome burned when it was sacked in 455 AD, the historical point which marked the formal end of the Roman Empire, America faces the same fate.

    One way to prevent or try to lessen the kind of collapse that could make the dissolution of Rome look like a cakewalk is to use the tools that ordinary Romans never had – the power of the modern alternative media.

    Only by relentlessly emphasizing that the collapse is being deliberately engineered by those who seek to exploit it for their own gain can we hope to deflate the myth that the ruling class are our only saviors in the coming time of peril.

  4. On 8/13/2014 at 7:18 am Randino2001 Said:

    The Roman Empire, updated all the way to…Dr. Zimmerman’s 1947?!?? And the closest the commenter (astonishingly off topic, I might add) could diatribe into present day was a reference to Ron Paul? Wow. Just…wow.