Robinson in Space is a visual, satirical record of a journey made by a fictional character called Robinson, narrated by his traveling companion and researcher, through the increasingly unknown space of present-day England. Robinson quotes Oscar Wilde: "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible not the invisible. . ." His assumptions about economic failure, especially in manufacturing industry, are gradually challenged by the discovery of an industrial economy that employs few people but still generates most of the wealth of the fifth-largest economy in the world. Robinson in Space incorporates material from the award-winning film of the same name that was released just before the British 1997 General Election. The book juxtaposes the narrative and over 200 intriguing, strange-yet-familiar images from the film to take the reader on a fascinating journey through the landscapes of present-day England.
Legendary language guru, author of more than twenty-five books, and Pulitzer-prize winning political columnist, William Safire is perhaps best known for his weekly "On Language" column for the New York Times. From slang to spin, Safire has for nearly four decades, shown us how the English language is a living, breathing and ever-evolving organism, that should never, ever be taken at face value.
This is particularly true of the political jargon cast out by politicians, pundits, and the press. When Safire catches these colorful and slippery specimens of "polingo" in his lexicographer's net, his probing reveals them to be as curious and revealing of our historical past as our present. Want to know what the politicians are really saying, or trying to say? Then check out the newly revised edition of Safire's Political Dictionary--a magnum opus of U.S. political terminology. In it, Safire shares with readers his expert dissection of politico-speak to uncover its deeper meanings and broader significance.
This fully updated reference volume is essential and highly entertaining reading for voters of all persuasions and just about anyone interested in American political culture. --Lauren Nemroff Questions for William Safire Amazon.com: What was your purpose in writing Safire's Political Dictionary? What do you hope that readers will gain from exploring the shallows and depths of American political vocabulary? Safire: This is a language that can inspire or inflame. Goal number one is to help anyone watching or listening to the cut and thrust of political debate to catch the hidden nuances--the code words and dog-whistle politics that manipulate emotions. Goal Two: to provide readers with accurate, anecdotal definitions of earmark, murder board, robo call, slow-walk.
The deepest purpose of this longterm love of my literary life (see alliteration) is to allow the voter to experience and enjoy the historical resonance of the latest slogans, the roots of our awful smears, the thoughtful talking pointsand stirring hoopla. Amazon.com: Striped-pants diplomacy, lame duck, salami tactics, stalking horse, bedsheet ballot, and hail of dead cats.
Why does the sphere of politics seem to produce some of the most robust and colorful language? You've even added a new term to our lexicon for political language: "polingo". Or is there also something particular about American English that lends itself to inventive turns of phrase, neologisms and catchy clichés? Safire: A would-be leader or political journalist has to seize our attention with word-pictures that uplift or infuriate. "Leaving under a cloud" can't compare with the metaphor of "in a hail of dead cats". American English delights in the transfer of sports terms to politics: that stalking horse is brother to the party wheelhorse as pols engage in horse-trading--but that dark horse can bolt and the front-runner may not be a shoo-in.
(I learned that last word from a racetrack cop: when a group of corrupt jockeys form a pool to wager on a long shot, they hold back their mounts and "shoo in" the nag they bet on, which is why the term in politics means "sure winner".) American presidents and their writers reach for those memorable metaphors. Lincoln, the best presidential writer, took a militant phrase suggested to him on the eve of Civil War--"the guardian angel of our nation"--and seeking to conciliate the South, changed it to "the better angels of our nature". When you know that, as I discovered when researching this book, you better appreciate the subtlety and poetry of his First Inaugural. Amazon.com: Do you think it possible to write a truly objective political dictionary? Or did you find yourself imposing checks and balances? Safire: Of course it's possible if you're willing to knock yourself out to be bipartisan. Not nonpartisan, which is color, nor partisan, which is slanted, and not even postpartisan, which I slipped in at the last moment before the Oxford printer snatched my final draft--a nice coinage taking over from above politics and is being applied to the Obama campaign. I was for three decades a lonely writer on the right on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and in this dictionary, whenever modesty afflicts me, I cite as a source "a vituperative right-wing scandalmonger", a sort of nom de plume. However, in this determinedly down-the-middle dictionary, for every bleeding heart, knee-jerk, double-domed liberal, there is a mossback, troglodyte, hidebound conservative, as well as a contingent of me-too, mainstream, opportunist centrists. Even within some entries, the reader will find colorful antonyms: the scholarly etymology of moonbat, born as an epithet hooting at leftists in 1999 and popularized two years later on the libertarian website Samizdata, gets fair and balanced treatment by my straight-faced analysis of wingnut, an updating of the 1960s"right-wing nut" used in a 1999 interview with website muckraker Matt Drudge. Amazon.com: Which politicians were the most enjoyable to research and write about for this new edition? Have any documents or speech recordings come to light that significantly changed your perception of a particular historical figure or period since you last revised the dictionary back in 1993? Safire: In the past century, nobody tops the two Roosevelts for colorful and historic coinages. President Theodore Roosevelt minted bully pulpit and big stick, still in active use today, swung lunatic fringe from the fashion world to politics and borrowed boxing's hat in the ring; Teddy also popularized weasel words, pussyfooting, parlor pink and mollycoddle. FDR more than matched his cousin: arsenal of democracy, four freedoms, rendezvous with destiny (based on the poet Alan Seeger's "rendezvous with death") were only the beginning; because I had the chance to interview FDR speechwriters Samuel Rosenman and Raymond Moley forty years ago, readers today can get some insight into the origins of New Deal, nothing to fear but fear itself, and day of infamy. (Speechwriters, even those of us with a passion for anonymity, don't always agree on credit.) Say what you like about Nixon (silent majority, lift of a driving dream, workfare) but the Watergate scandal that ended his administration spawned the Golden Age of Political Coinage: cover-up, Deep Throat, deep-six, enemies list, firestorm, plumbers, smoking gun, twisting slowly, slowly in the wind--the list goes on and the phrases are in current use.
Reagan gave us evil empire, make my day, morning in America, there you go again and was slammed with sleaze factor and amiable dunce). The elder Bush had read my lips, line in the sand, thousand points of light, kinder and gentler nation and was hit with wimp factor, out of the loop and voodoo economics. Bill Clinton had Comeback Kid, triangulation, war room and was attacked with Hillarycare, Whitewater, and the lingo of Monicagate. The younger Bush --- Dubya--started with compassionate conservative, faith-based, and the soft bigotry of low expectations but was soon embroiled in the war on terror, axis of evil, regime change, freedom agenda, misunderestimate, stay the course, and surge. In answer to your question, I enjoyed it all. Amazon.com: Out of nearly 550,000 words, do you have any particular favorites? Is there a word or phrase from the first edition, published forty years ago, that has regrettably fallen out of favor, but really merits resurrection? Safire: I get a kick out of the proverbs of politics and present my collection of about fifty of them with pride. The older ones include Woodrow Wilson's Never murder a man who's committing suicide. And I found the origin to Fiorello LaGuardia's Ticker tape ain't spaghetti. But here are a couple with follow-up kickers: Don't get mad, get even was attributed to the Kennedy clan, but its corollary is more profound: Don't get mad, don't get even, just get elected--THEN get even. Attributed to Harry Truman is the uncharacteristically cynical If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog. Its recent corollary, by Don Rumsfeld and revealed in this dictionary, is Better make it a small dog, because it may turn on you also. Lost phrases? We live in an era of frenetic activity, which is too often is a substitute for steady action.
In the 18th century, Sir James Mackintosh, famed for disciplined inaction, topped himself with masterly inactivity. In our time, George Shultz, Reagan's Treasury Secretary, gave that a modern imperative: Don't just do something, stand there.. Amazon.com: You call this dictionary your "labor of love." How do you feel about passing the baton off to a new editor when it comes time to work on the next edition? Safire: A political lexicographer gets a secret thrill out of discovering the origin of a phrase that, but for his digging, might disappear into the mists of Newsweek. Sometimes you just stumble across it like one of the princes of Serendip: an example is selling candidates like soap, which never had a demonstrable printed "attestation". But looking for the origin of Oval Office, I stumbled across it in the Times archives: put forward by a supporter of a general for president in 1920. Col. William Proctor, scion of the Ivory Soap family, was the demonstrable coiner. A minor triumph, but mine own. More important to this work was the result of a "fishhook"--a query placed in my Times Magazine "On Language" column for the coiner of "Social Security is the third rail of American politics--touch it and you die." Henry Hubbard of Newsweek and Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe agreed on the anonymous source: the late Kirk O'Donnell, an aide to Speaker Tip O'Neill, who used it to both journalists in 1984. Whew! The coiner's widow sent me a lovely, sentimental letter of thanks, which I suppose has no place in a dictionary, but I put it in anyway because my name is in this dictionary's title. I hope the editor of the 2018 edition of this hefty volume is making notes about the election of '08, parsing Barack Obama's speeches ("Fired up! Ready to go!") and Hillary Clinton's debate ripostes and John McCain's adoption of FDR's warm my friends as his salutation. This work, like the language it covers, is great fun and never finished.
Just when kids thought it was safe to go back into bookstores, another nail-biting edition of shark stories surfaces on the shelves. One frightening encounter after the next serves up a reading frenzy of fright. And, with blood-curdling black-and-white illustrations, kids will love diving into Scary Shark Stories.
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The Destroyer Trilogy brings together three of John Margerison’s WWI naval adventures into one must-have edition for the first time. DESTROYER DOINGS Through a turn of fate, the Stiletto parts company with its flotilla and comes across a German cruiser under the cover and darkness of thick fog that envelopes the sea.
With sheer ingenuity, Harry Knight commands his ship and crew in a highly unconventional manoeuvre … with outstanding outcomes … On another mission to patrol the North Sea, with instructions to stop and examine any passing vessels looking for contraband of war, Stiletto once again manages to beat expectations … Commodore Ellys, aware of Knight’s feisty reputation, is keen on sending Stiletto out to tow the Rapier, a notoriously accident prone ship back home.
An easy enough task had they not come across a steamer that failed to respond to Stiletto’s signals, with no lights on. Amongst other missions, destroying German U-boats, cruising through a seabed thick with mines, Stiletto gracefully comes to the rescue of several vessels that have come under attack. A successful string of missions under the command of Lieutenant Knight and his experienced crew ensure Stiletto is highly commended by the commodore. But its final mission is one that requires the utmost courage… THE HUNGRY HUNDRED The young, but talented Lieutenant James Stanley Murray is tasked with training a class of Royal Navy Reserves, seamen affectionately nicknamed the “Hungry Hundred”. Amongst this motley band are sixteen of the Royal Navy’s finest deserters and scallywags. These rough men answer to no master, but the Lieutenant’s kind hand and strong leadership evoke in them an undying loyalty for their ‘Jimmy’. On their first posting together, the team demonstrate their exceptionalism and their bonds of affection and loyalty to one another are strengthened. Against all odds, the men arrange to follow their commander to his next posting, aboard the Torpedo Boat Destroyer Stilletto, it is on this ship that the sixteen receive their baptism of fire and their bonds of brotherhood are truly tested. HUNTERS OF THE U-BOAT The First World War is raging and, like the land, the seas have been transformed into battlefields. Lurking in the depths is an underwater menace, and wanted or not the war will come to all: A stoic Captain who professes a rooted objection to war, in whatever guise it may take. A rebellious naval reservist, reluctant to take on any more war duties. A hawkish Commodore, seeking his pound of flesh for a failed torpedo attack on his ship. Featuring the likes of Harry Knight and James Carew, these tales of daring and courage sail through duels between vessels, unlikely catches, and aged men-o’-war hoping for one last hurrah. John S. Margerison was born Joseph Margerison in 1887, to a shoemaker in Derby. As a boy of fourteen he ran away to join the Royal Navy, marrying in 1907 and receiving medals for gallantry in 1912.
He was invalided out of the service in 1913 and by the time WWI broke out he was writing prolifically and to critical acclaim. He wrote several enthusiastic stories about life at sea, and during the war, he wrote a series of articles about joining the Navy (‘Come to Sea My Lads’ and ‘Under the Red Ensign’) for boys’ papers during the war.