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Dept. of Urbane Affairs


"One of the things I'd say Little Rock has is a much better climate than anywhere in Texas and great scenery. That's an asset the city should use. You don't want people to have to choose between an urbane setting and green space."

He was right about the climate and the scenery, but I suspect the speaker meant to refer to an urban setting. Urban means "of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town." Urbane is "suave, debonair." We usually think of people, not settings, as urbane.

"Arkansas's governor is more urbane than the rube in Austin."

"A renown New Orleans chef speaks at the Clinton School ... "

"Basketball coach Eddie Sutton built from nothing a nationally renown basketball program ... "

As Jan Cottingham points out, the adjective renowned ("famous") is what's needed here. Renown ("fame") is a noun. I wonder how many people remember Les Brown and His Band of Renown. About as many as remember "Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye," I suppose.

Excessive pluralization still on a rampage. Petrino was our last hope to stop it:

"Medicare, Medicaid and other insurances accepted." Will its never end?

We talked about "illegal aliens" vs. "undocumented aliens" last week. Here is Robert Jensen writing in Extra! magazine about "loaded" terminology, and the difficulty of avoiding it. "Neutrality is an illusion. ... Even the language we use conveys judgments; think of the difference between describing waterboarding as 'enhanced interrogation' or 'torture.' Neither term is neutral, nor is any other term. The use of language to describe the world always involves judgments."

"Bigfoot hunter finds a fine, not a creature ... At first they were very concerned that we were filming, that we were trying to get away with commercial filming without a permit. Once those concerns were satiated, there were other concerns." They'd probably wanted only simple satisfaction for their concerns, not satiation. Satiated is "satisfied to the point of boredom; gorged." Only creatures of lower intelligence, like the governor of Texas, go there. "Arkansas's Bigfoot is more urbane than the rube in Austin."

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