Solecism Safari (2012.11.03)

Set aside the merits or demerits of the ballot initiative here advertised: Something is gravely wrong with this billboard.

Fifty (50) Korrektiv RewardsTM points to the first Kommenter who pinpoints the problem!

(SVILUPPO: We have a winner — but the conversation continues.)


  1. I’m not touching this one.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says


      What does it mean if I had a mental image of seven fat cows getting devoured by seven skinny cows?

  2. Is that kinda like having an old friend with fava beans and a good Chianti?

  3. We deserve…to know what we eat.

    We deserve…what we eat.

    We deserve…to eat.

    (We deserve to know what we will eat – but somethings you’ll know you’ve eaten long before the devil knows we’re dead…)


    • Angelico Nguyen says

      We deserve the right to know what we eat.

      We deserve the right to know….

      We deserve the right….

      Vide infra: Rachel caught the redundancy.

      But that is a neat hyper-quibble you parenthesized there.

      Thanks for playing!

      • I thought I’d let you hoist my petard.

        I shoulda been more explicitty.

        Let loose the But-Monkeys!


        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

          Sorry, JOB; I don’t have a whole lot of smarts left over after a week at the office, and I still ain’t seeing what I might have seen, had you been more explicitty. But (but!), now that I know that you did say something more, I don’t want to miss it!

          So — if you have the time — could you be more explicitty?

          • Playing editor rather than philospher, I simply removed the redundancy (“You can’t simply REMOVE THE REDUNDANCY”) – which I thought was a better way of answering the question than getting into the whole natural vs endowed, Rousseau vs Thomas thingy. (No, really, once they get you there at TAC with that distinction stuff, it’s hard to shake – kinda like a case of the intellectual clap.)

            But like I said, I’ll not stand on ceremony – or quibble rules. I shoulda just come out and said it all plain like.


            • Angelico Nguyen says

              Well all the same, JOB, I can see that you did get there first, so here are your Korrektiv RewardsTM points:


          • I was directing the onslaught of but..but..but monkeys against myself, by the way.

            Speaking of buts. Excuses are like assholes – everyone’s got one and they all stink.

            In my opinion, anyway…

            (Excuse my French, by the way!)


  4. Especially if you eat at a place called Mom’s.

  5. Angelico Nguyen says

    Keep trying.

    I bet Darwin would spot it.

  6. Well, it’s a bit redundant.

    Which might indeed cause emotional distress for some.

    • Angelico Nguyen says


      Congratulations! You may now collect your Korrektiv RewardsTM points:


  7. I will try to use them wisely.

  8. Still, it has a nice ring …

    We deserve the right
    To know what we eat:
    If the harvest had blight,
    Or tremetol, the teat.

    “I’m strong to the finish,”
    Said I YAM WHAT I YAM,
    “Cause I eats my spinach,”
    With a slice of Spam.

    Avoid GM food,
    And flouridated water;
    Eat your meat well-chewed
    From a kosher slaughter.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says


      Your health is precious, so protect ‘er:
      Since flesh-meat’s an infection-vector,
      Check each fresh speck with an inspector
      And get a conscientious schechter.

  9. Doesn’t the issue of redundancy hinge on the question of whether rights are intrinsic things arising from our natures or gifts bestowed by the government. The right to life? Intrinsic. The right to bear arms? Well…
    And if it is a gift bestowed by the government, isn’t it the kind of thing you could make a case for deserving?

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Drawing distinctions, are we? Methinks the ‘Dominican creep’ at Korrektiv might have begun when they brought on board the TAC graduate.

      You make an interesting point that had not occurred to me.

      Any lurking legal positivists, here’s your cue to speak up.

      I do see a distinction between:

      a) rights as ‘intrinsic things arising from our natures’, and

      b) rights as… how to say?… maybe ‘recognitions or codifications of specific freedoms a class of people may enjoy, together with the complementary restrictions and/or obligations necessary to ensure those people’s enjoyment of those freedoms’.

      It seems* to me that we ordinary folk, using ‘rights’ in ordinary thought and conversation, always use ‘sense b’ of ‘rights’ to imply some ‘sense a’ rights. The ‘sense b’, government-‘given’ or ‘granted’ right to bear [certain kinds of] arms [but not others], or to have [retailed] foods labeled [in some standardized way] to inform people about [certain facts regarding some of] the ingredients they contain, always seems to be based on some ‘sense a’, intrinsic right. The ‘sense b’ ‘right to bear arms’ would be both a governmental recognition of and qualification upon the ‘sense a’ right of self-defense; the ‘sense b’ ‘right to know [some specific information about] what we eat’ would be both a governmental recognition of and qualification upon the ‘sense a’ right of bodily integrity.

      A positivist might (I’m not sure) say, in the lecture hall, that any connection between ‘sense a’ rights and ‘sense b’ rights is just rhetorical. And as far as the law operates as a practical matter, ‘sense b’ rights as ‘gifts bestowed by the government’ probably is an accurate description — a functional description.

      And moving from law, to the political process that shapes the law, I think what you say (or what your rhetorical question implies) is correct: A ‘sense b’ right — whether we describe it as a gift, recognition, codification, qualification, or bundle of restrictions and obligations, bestowed by the government — is the kind of thing you could make a case for deserving, on the basis of some ‘sense a’ right. As in: ‘I have the right (sense a) to defend myself, and weapons technology is currently at x level, and [assorted other factors]. Therefore, I deserve the right (sense b) to own these specific x, y, z kinds of weapons. That is, I deserve the government’s recognition that I may own such weapons.’

      But returning to the billboard in question, and the specific sentence: The ‘right to know what we eat’ seems to me* much closer to something like ‘the (“sense a”, intrinsic) right to bodily integrity’ than to ‘the (“sense b”, granted) right to labels on packaging that tell whether the food inside contains genetically-modified ingredients’.

      In other words: The ‘right to know’ anything seems* ‘sense a’, intrinsic; the corresponding ‘sense b’, given right should be a right to ease of access to information, which makes the enjoyment of a ‘sense a’ right to knowledge surer or easier, but is not itself a right to knowledge.

  10. Exactly. I suspect a real legal positivist might well have no problem with the sentence as it stands.

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