Thursday, 29 October 2015

Wearing the Pointy Hat.

I’ve often wondered what the difference is between the terms ‘academia’ and ‘academe’ so tonight I looked it up. I was hoping to learn that ‘academia’ is the grosser, more modern term used by the grosser, more modern New World people, and ‘academe’ the older, more classical equivalent to which we sophisticated Europeans are naturally drawn. Had that been the case, I could have enjoyed poking fun at my American associates by casually remarking that ‘academia’ sounds like a type of nut.

But no, it isn’t that simple. There is a difference, apparently, but it’s rather more subtle than a clumsy clash of continental egos. I think I’ve got it now, but please don’t ask. If God had wanted me to explain things, he wouldn’t have permitted Google to cross the Styx in reverse direction.

So now I'm content to be magnanimous and rely on The Borg, a highly educated American, to correct a lowly educated European should he err in the use of either term. Although I’m not even slightly erudite, you see, at least I’m smart enough to recognise the benefit of knowing somebody who is.

Vaguely Related Note

I watched part of a TV quiz show tonight, and the answer to one of the questions was ‘Brown University.’ Unfortunately, I’d only just switched on so I didn’t hear the question, which is a shame because it was the only one I probably would have got right.

Second Vaguely Related Note

I reckon this kid is fully aware of the fact that reading a vertically written word from top to bottom is merely an arbitrary convention, just as is the practice of putting the North Pole at the top of the map.

This principle does not apply, of course, to getting BC backwards, since only the end of the period is clearly defined. I knew I could trust myself to get a dig in somewhere.

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