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On 3/11/2020 at 11:23 AM, On Pointe said:

That John Waters appears to only work in Australia.  If he were cast over here,  SAG-AFTRA would suggest that he change his name,  perhaps by adding a middle initial.  They can't force you to do it,  but it's a good idea.  Michael Keaton was born Michael Douglas,  Katy Perry was born Katy Hudson.  If another actor joined the union first,  they get dibs on the name.

My favorite name change story - Linda Rosenthal joined NYCB before Linda Merrill and "stole" her name,  forcing the original Linda Merrill to change her name to Merrill Ashley.

OT - Ashley says in her book that she felt there was some malice aforethought - Rosenthal knew her and also knew she had a decent chance of getting into the company. 

There's also Stewart Granger, who was born James Stewart.

"Reticence" does not mean what Gia Kourlas thinks it means. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, dirac said:

"Reticence" does not mean what Gia Kourlas thinks it means. 

It does, actually, though that's not the most common usage of the word. From Merriam-Webster, sense #3:

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Definition of reticent

1: inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech : RESERVED
2: restrained in expression, presentation, or appearance the room has an aspect of reticent dignity— A. N. Whitehead
3: RELUCTANT

(Kourlas wrote, "I understand Ms. Waterbury's reticence to watch the episode.")

That said, the same source, in a related usage note, acknowledges that, when used with that meaning, it still often (though definitely not exclusively, especially since the 1940s) refers to a reluctance to communicate:

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Within 50 years, the word had started to develop a broader meaning. Instead of just describing those who are reluctant to speak, it was being used to describe those who are just plain reluctant. Usually, though, the idea being communicated was the same as with the original use: phrases like "reticent to give information" and "reticent about speaking of it" maintained the "inclined not to talk" meaning. 

Reticent meaning "hesitant" or "reluctant" is most frequently followed by "to" and a verb. In the early part of the 20th century reticent to wasn't all that common, and when it was used it was followed by verbs that preserved that original "inclined not to talk" meaning, like discuss and talk. Or it was followed by no verb at all, as in phrases like "reticent to a fault" or "reticent to us." But as the 20th century wore on, the use of reticent to mean "hesitant" increased, and by the 1940s reticent to was increasingly being followed by verbs like acceptparticipate, and commit

When reticent means "reluctant" or "hesitant" today, it often does so in the context of reluctant communication of one kind or another.

Still, they conclude that "The use is fully established, though, for other contexts too."

Edited by nanushka

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That being said,  does anyone believe that Waterbury was actually "reticent" to watch the episode,  or to give a statement to the NY Times? 

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3 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

That being said,  does anyone believe that Waterbury was actually "reticent" to watch the episode,  or to give a statement to the NY Times? 

I can certainly believe that someone who is or believes herself to be a victim would be reluctant to watch a representation of anything at all similar to her own experience of victimization (especially without knowing ahead of time just how dissimilar the episode would be to that experience). That doesn't seem implausible to me at all.

I don't recall any claim in the article (by either Kourlas or Waterbury) that Waterbury was reluctant to give a statement. And the explanation Waterbury gives for her discomfort in watching the episode puts her in direct agreement with those here who have suggested that it was unwise for the show to air a fictionalized version of a case that's not yet legally resolved.

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Yes to the first, no to the second, but why should she be?  I think she wishes the episode wasn't done, so there was nothing to comment about.

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Posted (edited)

"Such fine and noble reticence," Tennyson in Webster's Second. Related to TACIT, to pass over in silence. OED:  Reluctance to perform a particular action; disinclination, hesitation. 

It be nice if ballet were treated in film and fiction as an unglamorous crafts-oriented business where everyone who was doing something to build a show were treated equally. Penelope Fitzgerald had just the right tone for depicting the world of child actors in At Freddy's and the world of the BBC during World War II in the delightful Human Voices

For me the Waterbury case comes down to being about the commodification of intimacy and making tokens of that intimacy for exchange. And that fact that it's among the men – not between the original couple – and how they are always bidding up the stakes gives it an homoerotic turn (-Epistemology of the Closet). Some of that could come over in a Law and Order episode, at least as I remember them from the mid-nineties when that show and Homicide Life on the Streets (an early version of The Wire) were the highlights of the week in the small town I was then living in.

Edited by Quiggin

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10 hours ago, nanushka said:

It does, actually, though that's not the most common usage of the word. From Merriam-Webster, sense #3:

(Kourlas wrote, "I understand Ms. Waterbury's reticence to watch the episode.")

That said, the same source, in a related usage note, acknowledges that, when used with that meaning, it still often (though definitely not exclusively, especially since the 1940s) refers to a reluctance to communicate:

Still, they conclude that "The use is fully established, though, for other contexts too."

"Reluctant" is clearly the better word for the sentence Kourlas wrote. As the definitions you supply indicate, "reticence" applies to speech. I'm guessing Kourlas didn't know/consider the difference and thus used the "wrong" word, and no copy editor came to her aid. 

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(Do they even have copy editors these days?)

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, dirac said:

"Reluctant" is clearly the better word for the sentence Kourlas wrote. As the definitions you supply indicate, "reticence" applies to speech. I'm guessing Kourlas didn't know/consider the difference and thus used the "wrong" word, and no copy editor came to her aid. 

I wholly agree that "reluctant" is the better word, but — as the sources I supply indicate — "reticence" does not apply solely to speech. I'm not sure how they could be read to suggest that it does, when they quite clearly state otherwise.

(M-W's third definition could not be clearer or simpler; the same goes for the OED definition supplied by @Quiggin. And M-W's usage note offers further support.)

Kourlas' usage of "reticence" is not incorrect, but it is in my opinion best avoided (and I personally would never use it), if for no other reason than it raises the hackles of certain readers, thus inhibiting communication of her message and generally causing more trouble than it's worth.

(Then again, if I wanted to avoid raising the hackles of usage mavens, I would never use "aggravate" to mean "annoy," never use "anticipate" to mean "expect," and never use "hopefully" as a sentence adverb — all of which I do, quite appropriately and with the support of both linguists and much historical precedent.)

I am no great fan of Kourlas', and while I may question her taste I am not going to question her knowledge of language when the dictionaries clearly back her up. Maybe she doesn't realize that her usage of "reticence" is controversial; then again, maybe she thought to hell with them.

Edited by nanushka

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The usage is at best suboptimal, as people say. As you concede, it stands out as  "not incorrect." And as I said, some copy editor should have helped. Your mileage may vary, etc.

However, I do like "usage maven" and welcome the UV aboard as cousin strawman to our old friend the "purist balletomane." (h/t L. Witchel)

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, dirac said:

The usage is at best suboptimal, as people say. As you concede, it stands out as  "not incorrect."

Suboptimal, yes, I agree, as a matter of taste. But I think you may have a false sense of why I used the phrase “not incorrect.”

And glad you like that. After all, if there can be grammar mavens, why not let the other sub-disciplines have their straw representatives?

Edited by nanushka

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Quote

"Such fine and noble reticence," Tennyson in Webster's Second. Related to TACIT, to pass over in silence.

Yes - "pass over in silence" - referring to speech.  "Reluctant" was the better - really the only - word here. It even sticks out in the context of the original sentence. I don't mean to flog the dead horse, but it is what it is, and none of the second or third definitions out there change that.

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20 hours ago, Quiggin said:

"Such fine and noble reticence," Tennyson in Webster's Second. Related to TACIT, to pass over in silence. OED:  Reluctance to perform a particular action; disinclination, hesitation. 

It be nice if ballet were treated in film and fiction as an unglamorous crafts-oriented business where everyone who was doing something to build a show were treated equally. Penelope Fitzgerald had just the right tone for depicting the world of child actors in At Freddy's and the world of the BBC during World War II in the delightful Human Voices

For me the Waterbury case comes down to being about the commodification of intimacy and making tokens of that intimacy for exchange. And that fact that it's among the men – not between the original couple – and how they are always bidding up the stakes gives it an homoerotic turn (-Epistemology of the Closet). Some of that could come over in a Law and Order episode, at least as I remember them from the mid-nineties when that show and Homicide Life on the Streets (an early version of The Wire) were the highlights of the week in the small town I was then living in.

I'm guessing it's more a matter of overcompensation than anything else. Boys get a lot of grief for choosing a career in dance in our culture, particularly ballet, but once they're in the ballet world they're pampered, relatively speaking. The girls face even greater competition, there are more of them, they have to work harder, don't get the same chances at leadership roles like choreographer, etc.  It's easy to see how these circumstances might turn toxic.

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This is going to be a very long off-season :lol:

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dirac said:

...it is what it is, and none of the second or third definitions out there change that.

This curious form of prescriptivism sounds rather familiar...

Quote

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, Ch. 6

 

Edited by nanushka

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24 minutes ago, nanushka said:

This curious form of prescriptivism sounds rather familiar... 

Writers have to make choices all the time. You want to make the choices that will best communicate your meaning to others. "Reluctant" is, in that context, the superior word choice, the one which is most appropriate to not wanting to watch a TV show.

Quote

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

See pot, calling kettle black.......

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, dirac said:

Writers have to make choices all the time. You want to make the choices that will best communicate your meaning to others. "Reluctant" is, in that context, the superior word choice, the one which is most appropriate to not wanting to watch a TV show.

I have agreed with you on this more than once in my postings above — almost in exactly the same terms. That's a very different thing from asserting that a word "does not mean" what its definition (even its second or third one) says it means.

Quote

See pot, calling kettle black.......

Since my contributions to this small debate have consisted almost entirely of (1) citing sources offering definitions based on common usage and (2) agreeing with you on matters of opinion, I'm not really sure what this means. 🤷‍♂️

Edited by nanushka

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Whether reticent or reluctant,  Waterbury actually did watch the show.  Did anyone think she wouldn't?

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Whether reticent or reluctant,  Waterbury actually did watch the show.  Did anyone think she wouldn't?

It only takes us from paragraph 1 to paragraph 3 of Kourlas’ article to learn that she did, so I’m not sure I understand the question.

I personally don’t follow her closely  on social media and don’t know her, so couldn’t have predicted what she’d do.

Edited by nanushka

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On 3/29/2020 at 3:19 PM, Quiggin said:

For me the Waterbury case comes down to being about the commodification of intimacy and making tokens of that intimacy for exchange. And that fact that it's among the men – not between the original couple – and how they are always bidding up the stakes gives it an homoerotic turn (-Epistemology of the Closet).

 

6 hours ago, dirac said:

I'm guessing it's more a matter of overcompensation than anything else. Boys get a lot of grief for choosing a career in dance in our culture, particularly ballet, but once they're in the ballet world they're pampered, relatively speaking. The girls face even greater competition, there are more of them, they have to work harder, don't get the same chances at leadership roles like choreographer, etc.  It's easy to see how these circumstances might turn toxic.

These two views seem quite compatible to me, and both on point.

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Posted (edited)

For the record, Webster's Second was prescriptive; the Third was descriptive. There was a big argument about this back in the day, and libraries were criticized for not keeping the Second alongside the Third. (I ended up with one of the "tossed" copies.) The Second also seemed to have better literary citations for usage rather than from magazines and now-forgotten contemporary writers like the Third, and so it has aged better. A Fourth International apparently was intended but never produced.

I think dirac's point is right that one would be reticent to talk, but reluctant, not reticent, to watch. Watching is too passive an activity and lacks the sharp intent that talking has to be matched up with reticent.

Anyway Webster's Second does offer Gia Kourlas this alternative: "I could understand that Ms Waterbury would be loath to watch the episode."

 

Edited by Quiggin

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Quiggin said:

For the record, Webster's Second was prescriptive; the Third was descriptive. There was a big argument about this back in the day...

Oh dear yes, that was supposed to be the downfall of civilized society, I believe! (This was 1961.)

Edited by nanushka

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, nanushka said:

Oh dear yes, that was supposed to be the downfall of civilized society, I believe! (This was 1961.)

Well yes. Librarians as a group are fairly progressive and want the best materials for their patrons. Knowing the full shadings of a word is important for writing essays and poetry (Robert Graves recommended saving up and buying the entire 20v OED). A word carries all its meanings with it like recessive and dominant traits in a seed.

Ballet teachers assiduously (more than sedulously) comment about French vs Italian vs Russian ways of executing movements and standing in position (Pascal Molat most recently in an online class practice). After that you can be as free, descriptive and unrestricted, as you want.

Edited by Quiggin

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