He pussyfooted all right. He declared in grandiloquent style for undiluted Americanism, but he had nothing to say about hyphenism.
Of course, to hesitate over this is mere pussyfooting – not something Prime Ministers and Archbishops have time for.
Which reminds me that yesterday’s tweet and blog post have become today’s Guardian headline for the turbulent priest. I’d like to say it was because this blog is so influential that it’s read throughout Westminster, but I suspect the mundane truth is that the wording was so apposite that even a journalist on a proper paper couldn’t resist.
Meanwhile, back in the OED, I’m both disappointed and intrigued to discover that hyphenism has nothing to do with lexicography but ‘the state of being a hyphenated American; the attitude or conduct involved or implied by this.’ Wikipedia offers some enlightenment that explains why this would be an issue in Woodland in the middle of the First World War:
Hyphenated American is an epithet commonly used from 1890 to 1920 to disparage Americans who were of foreign birth or origin, and who displayed an allegiance to a foreign country. It was most commonly used to disparage German Americans or Irish Americans (Catholics) who called for U.S. neutrality in World War I. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was an outspoken anti-hyphenate.
This particular issue may have faded into the mists of history (though divided loyalty still seems a hot topic to some American politicians), so how about adopting the term anti-hyphenate for those in favour of email rather than e-mail and other stylistic simplifications? That’s still stirring up debate – see Think hyphens aren’t contro-versial in The Guardian and Substuff‘s tweet yesterday:
‘Keep an eye-out for all our latest reviews.’ What is the reasoning behind that hyphen?
On this, it’s time to stop pussyfooting: I’m definitely an anti-hyphenate. I think.
As I read the Christmas letters, I wonder what happened in the last twelve months that’s worth reporting. It’s hard to remember now – though we did get quite excited when Ben popped his head out of his window to give us a shout as we were passing. That’s him you can just see in the window high up on the right. Nice house he’s got, isn’t it?
There’s also been a trip to Texas, where I received another warm welcome. Before that it’s a bit of a blur, though you can read a few things elsewhere on this blog. As Milton hath well said in his Sonnet VII:
How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth
Stoln on his wing… &c
Learning about US education at NCTE’s 2008 Convention
I didn’t ask them to bring their Thanksgiving Dinner forward a week, though it was flattering to be accorded that honour, even if, as a vegetarian, I was loath to eat the turkey or the pork on offer. The photo shows a victim (it’s not the bird that gives thanks, we assume) with Suzanne Dreyer and me in the library of Stacey High School at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Suzanne is Instructional Technologist at Lackland, which involves supporting technology for learning ‘K-12’ (that is, from Kindergarten to the end of high school) – and being a kind of ‘super-teacher’ as well. The tour of the school was an invaluable introduction to the whole range of US schooling – though I was told Lackland isn’t really typical and I could see that Suzanne is exceptionally committed to making the most of the technology.
The Annual Convention of NCTE (which is the US equivalent of NATE) which Julie Blake, Tim Shortis, Andy Goodwyn and I attended for the next four and a half days, merits more than I have time for tonight. Suffice it to say that we were warmly received and were able to engage in a fascinating exchange of ideas. Chris Warren’s collapsed text idea has now appeared on the US website, LitArchives.com, created by Allan Webb of Western Michigan University. And just to make it clear that despite the notice here, we received a warm welcome wherever we went!
US high school students give us their perspective on what it means to be ‘American’ and ‘British’
This YouTube video gives a fascinating insight into what US high school students think it means to be ‘American’ and ‘British’.
It was created by students at Sacramento New Technology High School, USA to help students at Ninestiles Technology College in Birmingham, UK, with a project about identity. Ninestiles doesn’t seem to have produced a reply, which is a pity – but also a great opportunity for others.
See the video on YouTube, where you can choose high quality streaming and see related material.
Interesting footnote: Weed is where George and Lennie have fled from in Of Mice and Men.