July 5, 2007

What Were They Thinking?

{as before, there's at least a fifty-fifty chance these are principally the fault of mechanical proofreading systems}

We need First Nations to have reified present-day native-led nations in the real geography of the land.
---Robert Priest, Now, June 28-July 4, '07

Surely it's the reification, or something like it, of the nations and their land claims that native groups chiefly complain of? Only by actually writing this sentence could you remove all of its muddle, but 'ratify' instead of 'reify' would at least give it the dignity of a conventional lamely-worded platitude. (I recommend checking out Drew Hayden Taylor's piece in the same issue.)

"What is the Captain's name of the boat in the musical Showboat?"
--Trivial Pursuit Question, Timothy's Chalkboard, June 29 '07

I'm not even sure what the question is: what is the Captain's name? What is the name of the boat? Or does the Captain have a name of his own for the boat, different from the one she's commonly known by? "Her name was McGill/And she called herself Lil/But everyone knew her as Nancy."

C 2007 Martin Heavisides


Carol Novack said...

Hey Martin --- Does reify [sic] (should be reiffy or re-iffy when hyphens were popular) mean "to reconsider the hypothesis of existence," par example: "A committed atheist since adolescence, Clora reeffied the possibility of a sentient Force superior to anyone she knew, particularly her husband Morris." ? (Oh shit, where should I put the question mark?)

Elucidate, svp!

Martin Heavisides said...

I'm having trouble finding it in any of my dictionaries, so I can't double-check, but my understanding is that to reify is to render a living thing into an object or machine. Marx spoke of the reification of the proletariat in Capitalism. I will double check when I'm able, with a better dictionary.