Sunday, March 29, 2020

Words (1)

A word that has become almost intolerable in the last few days is “epicenter”. The word has a specialized meaning in geology but is otherwise identical to the word “center”. Apparently some journalists think that “epicenter” adds vim and verve to their articles, that an ‘epicenter’ is somehow more than a center, as if such a thing were possible. If these miscreants feel the need to adorn their feeble prose with tinsel, maybe they should use “locus”. Grrr. Bah, humbug.

Monday, March 23, 2020


During the Egyptian Campaign (1799) plague broke out in the French army. To calm the growing panic the commanding general visited a hospital and touched a victim to show that not everyone would be infected. This event was immortalized by Antoine-Jean Gros in his 1804 painting "Napoleon in the Pest House at Jaffa". May we look forward to modern equivalents of this heroism amidst our current pandemic, perhaps "Trump Dines At A Restaurant," "Trudeau Shops for Toilet Paper," or "Macron Walks Outside His House"?