May 8, 2007

pace (prep.)

—(pah'chay)—is Words Worthy's first featured preposition!
(Applause! ! ! !)
Stranded . . .
in the middle,
of the ocean,
on an island,
under a tree,
without my BlackBerry or Thee.

Preposition: a connecting word
that puts one [1]noun
into a relationship
with another [2]noun.

"The [1]temperature (of the [2]water)is dropping."

[1]Truthpace the Attorney General's [2]testimony—is still an orphan.

pace – preposition (pah'chay)
with all due respect to; with the permission of:

E.g. "I do not, pace my rival, hold with the ideas of the reactionists."

[Origin: 1860–65; (style="font-style: italic;")pāce in peace, by favor (also from pāx peace, favor, pardon, grace)] — Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

pace prep. (pah'chay)
With due deference to (a named person or authority); despite.

Used chiefly as a courteous or ironic apology for a difference of opinion about to be expressed.

E.g., "I do not believe, pace Peirce and Derrida, that it is signs all the way down, and that, pace Dennett, there is no distinctive human intentionality, and that, pace almost everyone, thinking is fundamentally linguistic."
—1995 Computers & Humanities 29 404/1—Oxford English Dictionary Online

pace prep.
By the leave of; with all deference to. Used in expressing polite disagreement.

When used in front of someone's name, it serves as an apology when contradicting him or her; such as:, "pace Dr. Smith"—Word Information. Robertson's Words for a Modern Age: A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Words used in Modern English Vocabulary (http:


[The Barak Obama candidacy is] all about the spectacular keynote speech he gave to the Democratic Convention in 2004. It's all about
the fact that he'space Joe Biden—a young, attractive,
eloquent and intelligent Kenyan
Columnist Joe Klein. Time Magazine.

From the gathering of definitions of the word pace presented above, perhaps the most apt one comes from the OED, which describes pace as "an ironic apology for a difference of opinion about to be expressed." Kline seems to thank Biden his inept use of "attractive, eloquent and intelligent" because the brouhaha that followed it has cleared the verbal air in two large speech communities--White America's and Black America's--making talk within and between the communities cleansed of lingering resentments attached to certain words, chief among them "articulate." All of this has allowed Kline to use them in his essay without fear of reprisal. Kline's language is accurate and forthright. Biden's language was accurate but patronizing.

If you'd like to read a succinct summary of the events, read the following narrative by David Gregory, Chief White House correspondent for NBC News.

Sen. Joseph Biden has launched his bid for the White House on the issue of Iraq, but Wednesday his campaign was sidetracked over race. [Sen. Biden pictured at right]

Like everybody these days Biden declared online, but it was old media that got him in trouble: Personal comments he made about another White House hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, recorded by a reporter for the New York Observer.

"I mean, you've got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a story-book, man," Biden said.

Biden later called Obama and then spoke to reporters during a conference call saying Obama understood what he meant.

"This is a guy who's come along in a way that's captured the imagination of the country in a way that no one else has. That was the point of everything I was saying," Biden said.

But late Wednesday, Obama released a statement seizing on Biden's use of the word "articulate."
[Sen. Obama pictured at right.]

"I didn't take Sen. Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate," Obama said. "African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said Wednesday night, "It was a gaffe. It was not an intentional racially pejorative statement. It could be interpreted that way, but that's not what he meant."

Biden, who admits he has a tendency to bloviate, has made indelicate remarks before. Last year, speaking about Indian-Americans, he said, "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. It's a point. I'm not joking!"

Fearing the political damage of his comments Wednesday night, Biden released a statement saying, "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama."MSNBCJan 31, 2007 (
Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Yes, Obama is articulate, perhaps one of the most articulate public officials on the scene. But as Biden learned, calling him articulate elicits groans of recognition from a nation of well- spoken black folks (like me) who think they know what's really being said:

Articulate for a black guy.

The suspicion is that the bar for "articulate" speech for black politicians has been set so low, anybody who doesn't say "ax" when he means "ask" could pass muster with some whites.


No comments:

Post a Comment