Thursday, July 12, 2007

Keeping Up Appearances

I was reminded this morning how much I like the word "misdemeanor". It's now used as a sort of a legal-technical term that I doubt many people associate with the base word "demeanor" any longer; I hear most people speaking it incorrectly as MIS-de-mea-nor, rather than mis-de-MEA-nor.

But it's such a good descriptive word for "a lesser offense" in a now-anachronistic kind of way. It's what a 19th century gentleman might use to describe the actions of one who had imbibed a bit too much port at the men's club and had danced a most inappropriate jig: "something of a mis-demeanor, I must say, sir!"

Bob Allen

The item that reminded me of the word this morning was the news that Florida representative Bob Allen was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution for offering an undercover cop $20 for a blow job, which seems to me the very essense of a misdemeanor.... I say, sir, in a public restroom no less? A most unseemly mis-demeanor indeed!

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