June 6, 2010

h/t = hat tip

globalnerdy.com/.../ 2007/12/etiquette.jpg

In the blogosphere, h/t = hat tip


➤ A hat tip, or doff (British English) is a cultural expression of recognition, respect, gratitude, greeting, or simple salutation and acknowledgment or simple  salutation and acknowledgement between two persons.

➤ h/t  or hat tip in the blogosphere is an acknowledgement to someone (or a website) for bringing something to the blogger’s attention.
• Hat tip is also, sometimes, abbreviated as h/t or HT.  —blogossary.com

In the 2000s, the term "hat tip" (often abbreviated to "HT") rose to prominence in the blogosphere to acknowledge someone who has made a significant contribution toward an effort, or someone who drew attention to something new or interesting. The on-line versions of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times regularly give hat tips to users who bring ideas for articles to their attention. —en.wikipedia.org

H/t in use
Today (h/t Ben Smith) the Clinton Presidential Library started posting memos Elena Kagan wrote while serving in that Administration as a senior policy aide. —Institute for Public Affairs, May 12, 2010 "Another Kagan Tea Leaf re: Religion
 The ACLU's recent litigation against alleged unlawful detention in Colorado (h/t immigration law prof) suggests that policies that encourage the criminalization of immigrants will invite not only political antipathy, but also endless lawsuits. —Michelle Chen, Blogger, In These Times and Racewire.org Posted April 24, 2010, 10:37 AM Huffington Post.com

The h/t symbol is the equivalent of a footnote's number or asterisk. As with the footnote, the h/t can provide as much secondary information for the reader as the writer chooses to impart. The first example sentence above gives the h/t  tag to someone named Dave, with no information about his identity, expertise, or whereabouts. 

In the second example sentence,  "(h/t immigration law prof)"  accommodates the curious reader's needs with a hot-text link to the "Law Prof Blog," a site offering commentary on pertinent legal precedents.  

Hats, during the 20th and 21st centuries

Indiana Jones in fedora

The public wearing of hats — notably the fedora — among American men during the 20th century was fairly common until 1960, when John F. Kennedy chose to take the oath of office for President of the United States hatless in an outdoor environment. Although he had brought a hat with him, he stowed it prior to taking the oath.  The rostrum moment was telegenically electric — the mature young man with an attractive head of hair "braving" a chilly wind at the onset of his tenure as President, with live television networks sending across the world a surprising, bold new fashion statement. 

In her essay "History of Fedora Hats," eHow Contributing Writer Laura Dixon explains briefly  the "don again"-"doff again" attitudes American men and women have taken toward the fedora:
The fluctuating popularity of the fedora throughout the years has been greatly influenced by popular entertainment. In the 1940s and 1950s, famous entertainers like Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra made the fedora part of their film and stage repertoire, causing production of the fedora to soar. Three decades later, the fedora played a token role in the Indiana Jones movie trilogy, acquainting a whole new generation with the classic. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson and rappers such as Run DMC showed that the fedora hat could be cool again.  
Most recently, popular entertainers including Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears have worn them during concerts, while young celebrities continue to fuel the fedora comeback by being photographed sporting the chic hat. 
Social Customs for Donning, Doffing, and Tipping Hats

As Nora Dixon notes (above), the brimmed hat — in particular the fedora —is making a comeback — notably among women. There are no rules specifically designated for ladies about hat etiquette, but there are are time-honored customs for gentlemen, customs that the punctilious among us might want to observe, either to add a bit of subdued panache to one's public self-presentation or simply to honor the continuity of custom.  

Below (with a h/t to wikihow.com) is "How to Practice Male Hat Etiquette" by Harold R. Flickety, et al., a thorough-going description of how to handle a hat in public with social propriety, as well as style.  


Understand the terms. 
• You don your hat. This means to put it on.
• You doff your hat. This means to take it off.
• You tip your hat. This means to grab the rim of the hat and lift up slightly or to grab the rim of the hat and gently tug forward with your index finger and thumb.
• Grab the crown of your hat. This is the top of the hat that is bowl-like.

Understand the methods by which you don and doff your hat.
• To don your hat, grab the crown and place the hat on top of your head.
• To doff your hat, grab the crown and lift up and bring forward.
• Keep the interior of the hat facing towards you, so as not to expose it outwards.

Understand the situations when you don your hat or leave it on after you have donned it.
• Don your hat when going outside.
• Leave your hat on while in the lobby or elevator of a building.
• Don your hat after conversation with a lady or group of ladies.
• Leave your hat on while in a large, public arena.

Understand the situations when you tip your hat.
• Tip your hat to an acquaintance of any gender when in public.
• No need to doff your hat unless you start a conversation.
• Tip your hat when meeting a male friend or acquaintance or a group of males. 
• Tip your hat when leaving the same friend or group.

Understand the situations when you doff your hat or leave it off after you have doffed it.
• Doff your hat when you come inside.
• Doff your hat when you enter into a conversation with a lady, a group of ladies, or an individual escorting a lady or group of ladies.
• Leave your hat off when in a private or intimate setting such as a party or box seats.
• Doff your hat when coming into the presence of a dignitary or important individual of any gender. This can be someone like the mayor, or someone like the President of the United States. It indicates deference, respect, and a humble approach.


May 16, 2010




louche  [loosh]  adj.  
 of questionable taste or morality; decadent: 
"a louche nightclub"; "a louche painting. —Wordnet 1.7.1

➤ disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way":  
"the louche world of the theater. —NOAD


"Louche" ultimately comes from the Latin "luscus," meaning "blind in one eye" or "one-eyed." This Latin term gave rise to the French "louche," meaning "squinting, cross-eyed" or "shady, devious." English speakers borrowed the term in the 19th century, using it to describe both people and places of questionable repute. —Merriam-Webster.com

Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2010
[Headline] ➢ New York Fashion Week: Luxe and louche at Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's the Row
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen drew all the industry movers and shakers to the first runway show for the Row, their 3-year-old label that already sells at the world's top stores.
What makes the line so successful is its luxe louche-ness. 
Tom Ford, the former creative director of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, turned louche sexuality into high fashion in the 1990s.  — Times Topics, The New York Times, Thursday, April 29, 2010. 
➢ Most of Irma La Douce was filmed on the back lot of the Goldwyn studio. They had put up a beautiful reproduction of a street near Les Halles--the shops, the bistros, the louche hotels. The most gorgeous starlets in town were cast as the whores. —cselfstyledsiren.blogspot.com
Irma la Douce (1963)

Example sentences from the OED:
➢ You could play Snobby. I want a slim, louche, servant-girl-bigamist, half-handsome sort of rascal. —G. B. Shaw 1905
➢ There had seemed to be something a little louche in the way she had suddenly found herself alone with Ivor. —A. Huxley 1921 
➢ A quick cold clasp now and then in some louche hovel. — W. H. Auden 1945
➢ I knew of a louche little bar quite near here. — E. Waugh 1945
➢ As if he were an unfrocked priest due for reception into the world of the louche and the lost. — P. H. Johnson 1959
A comment from Wordnik.com

Below is a fully ripened, "de-louce-ish" description of louche, which I found among the comments at Wordnik.com, an online dictionary of current English. Wordnik's goal is "to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English, and to give you a place where you can make your own opinions about words known."  The lively comment you are about to read was written by a Wordnik contributor who uses the nom de blog "rolic," which, I am guessing, he or she borrowed from the word frolic. But I digress. On, now, to rolic's notions about louche: 
Immoral, disreputable, decadent – none of these capture that sleazy yet elegant and brazenly androgynous seductiveness that is at the essence of louche. For me the embodiment of louche (and this is a word that demands to be written in italics, for no other reason than it can't be bothered to stand up straight) is the character "Joel Cairo" in The Maltese Falcon as played by the peerless Peter Lorre, an actor who almost always played louche.  —wordnik.com/words/louche/comments.

 Peter Lorre in
  The Maltese Falcon (1941)


“Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, New York: Harper, 2010.

Headline and subhead for The New Yorker book review:

Louche Change: Trash Talk from the 2008 Campaign

To catch the reader's eye about a book review that accounts recent changes in English usage, from the civil to the louche, among political candidates, The New Yorker used a pun: "Louche Change," followed by the subhead "Trash talk from the 2008 Campaign."

"Louche Change" exemplifies a sub-category of the pun called paranomasia [PAR-a-no-MAY'-zia], the use of words alike in sound but different in meaning. The pun starts with (1) a paultry image of "loose change" in one's pocket or purse and then moves via the similar-yet-different mechanism of word-play to (2) a verbal change from proper English (downward) to louche English. 

A trash-talk example: "This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." —Barack Obama, September 2008. 


April 20, 2010


At first, the subject matter of this gouache-on-paper assemblage by Henri Matisse may appear recondite, incomprehensible.  But once we learn that the artist titled his work "The Snail," the swirling patches of color do seem to suggest a snail-like image.

recondite  [RəK'-con-dīt]  adj.  
(of a subject or knowledge) little known; abstruse:
the book is full of recondite information.
Recondite denotes topics that are known and understood by only a few experts. 
There is often a critical suggestion that difficulty or obscurity has been deliberately sought out or magnified. —NOAD

Recondite IN USE

 And [Cardinal] Ratzinger was renowned at the Vatican for poring through voluminous, recondite theological treatises.—Maureen Dowd, "A Nope for Pope," The New York Times, March 27, 2010.

 Indeed, you find autistic savants with stunning skills in recondite fields like prime-number recognition and factoring, who are nevertheless hopeless at simple arithmetic Christopher Badcock. "The Imprinted Brain," Psychology Today, April 7, 2010

 Compared with the Cubist-period work of his near contemporary Picasso — one picture after another that can be like a cheese grater for the eyes — even the most recondite Matisse is pretty beguiling. Richard Lacayo. "Great leap forward: Matisse in Chicago,"  Apr. 12, 2010.

abstruse, obscure, arcane, esoteric, recherche, profound, difficult, complex, complicated, involved; incomprehensible, unfathomable, impenetrable cryptic, opaque. —OAWT


Exoteric, well-known


1649.  Recondite derives from the Latin verb re•con•dere which signifies "store away."  Re- means "away, back"; con- means "together"; and -dere means "to put, to place."  Thus we can think of a complex entity whose elements have been brought "together" and  "placed" in the "back," "away" from all else. 




The closest synonym to recondite seems to be abstruse. If this is so, it would be useful to ask, When do we use recondite, and when do we use abstruse

OAWT states that we use recondite when dealing with topics that are "known and understood by only a few experts" and that we use abstruse when dealing with topics that are "difficult to understand, puzzling to almost anyone."

Recondite prompts the image of peering through a transparent pane of glass and seeing images only an expert can explain, whereas abstruse suggests trying to look at something through an opaque pane of glass but seeing only vague, unrecognizable shapes. 

I hope my readers perceive what I've written here to be articulate and not recondite or, worse, abstruse.