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Words Feb. 24

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Who let the hair out? “Yankees Manager Joe Torre added that he wasn’t surprised players felt strongly about Canseco’s decision to break the ‘code,’ which includes keeping clubhouse discussions and activities quiet. ‘You come into the clubhouse, it’s your sanctuary,’ Torre said. … ‘[W]e’ve all talked about things, general conversation that goes on in the clubhouse, and let our hair out, so to speak. Then you read it in a book, and that’s a violation.’ ” We generally speak of letting our hair down (“to relax; to behave informally”). Those of us who have it to let. “Not a word either about the fact that Bush’s messianic foreign policy is killing thousands of innocent Iraqis and American soldiers; sowing hatred of America across the Arab (and most of the non-Arab) world; recruiting terrorists for Al Qaeda-like organizations; torturing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of victims in numerous nations; supporting and empowering tyranny around the world; destroying the liberty of American citizens and noncitizens alike here at home, and shredding time-honored constitutional liberties as it invents new federal police powers out of whole cloth. None of these kakistocratic exercises would be possible if the media took seriously their constitutional charge to act as a check on the irresponsible exercise of power.” Kakistocracy is “government by the worst people.” The word seldom was heard, or seen, until about four years ago. Now it’s getting quite a workout. Ginger Shiras sends an item from a newspaper’s restaurant column: “The North Forty Bed & Breakfast and Restaurant on North Crossover Road in Fayetteville is offering pre-fixed menus once a month. … Chef Jerry Sigler began preparing the pre-fixed menus in January. … Pre-fixed dinners are a bountiful, four-course spread with a set price of $30 each.” A pre-fixed meal sounds like a TV dinner, or a box lunch. Either way, $30 would be a little pricey. I believe the columnist was confused. Pardon her French. She should have written prix fixe, which is French for “a fixed price charged for any meal chosen from the variety listed on the menu.”

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