Get yourself some awe

Of course, the definition has shifted since we were young:

“In my day” generally indicates a Get Off My Lawn sort of person, and Dr Tyson is fairly close to my age, so I really wouldn’t hold it against him. Someone younger, though, might take umbrage:

Okay. I feel about NdGT’s linguistic arbitration about like how I feel about Richard Dawkins holding forth on anything BUT Evolutionary Biology: “Who died and made you King?”

I mean, just because the guy is famous and has some clout (possibly unmerited, I don’t know. I may be biased because I am suspicious of people who have an advanced degree — like Dawkins — but get famous mainly for their pronouncements, or their outrageousness (that’s Dawkins again), or for being generally smooth and good looking (Not Dawkins).

But yeah. Why should I consider his opinion on how I should speak any more heavily than that of any other non-specialist in elocution or whatever.

A person may be an expert on topics A through Y and yet not know squat about topic Z. I know my mouth occasionally writes checks no brain I know can cash, but I try to avoid sounding like an expert.

And there are always occasions to ask “Who died and made you King of anything?”


  1. Dan T. »

    14 April 2018 · 12:00 pm

    And if you go back even further (centuries this time), “awful” once meant the same thing that “awesome” later did.

  2. McGehee »

    14 April 2018 · 2:00 pm

    Neil’s “day” should’ve only lasted 15 minutes.

  3. Joseph Hertzlinger »

    15 April 2018 · 12:05 pm

    I’m tempted to rise from my rocking chair and brandish my slide rule.

  4. Roger Green »

    15 April 2018 · 12:07 pm

    Well, his show, which is fairly entertaining is about how science and popular culture collide. The culture includes the language, I suppose. As always, we listen to people we tend to agree with already.

  5. CGHill »

    15 April 2018 · 6:53 pm

    The show, at least, is long-form, by which I mean “longer than 280 characters.” To me, at least, he loses something when he tries to come up with Pithy Aphorisms. And an hour on Twitter will tell you that he’s not the only one.

  6. Holly H »

    16 April 2018 · 9:00 am

    Maybe Tyson isn’t an expert linguist. But on this point, he’s awesomely correct.

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