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    #1

    Scapegoats like

    "You will be on safer ground if you stick to scapegoats like the Post Office or the telephone system."

    In the context there is nothing about the Post Office or the telephone system. I don't know the relaltlionships among scapegoats, the Post Office , and the telephone systems.

    Thanks! {ret 192}

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    #2

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Even though, as you say, there is no other reference to the Post Office etc in the text, once we do see the wider context of this passage the meaning of the sentence you supplied becomes clear.

    Here's what I found:
    "If you are part of the group which you are addressing, you will be in a position to know the experiences and problems which are common to all of you and it'll be appropriate for you to make a passing remark about the inedible canteen food or the chairman’s notorious bad taste in ties. With other audiences you mustn't attempt to cut in with humor as they will resent an outsider making disparaging remarks about their canteen or their chairman. You will be on safer ground if you stick to scapegoats like the Post Office or the telephone system."

    It appears to be advice on how to include humour when giving a talk or lecture. What it's saying is that when you are addressing a group that you are not a part of, it's risky to make fun of that group's own institution or office and safer to make fun of more remote targets, like the Post Office or telephone system. We've probably all had frustrating experiences with such corporations and they are a target for humour that everyone can identify with.

    not a teacher
    Last edited by JMurray; 20-Jul-2012 at 10:53.

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    #3

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    Even though, as you say, there is no other reference to the Post Office etc in the text, once we do see the wider context of this passage the meaning of the sentence you supplied becomes clear.

    Here's what I found:
    "If you are part of the group which you are addressing, you will be in a position to know the experiences and problems which are common to all of you and it'll be appropriate for you to make a passing remark about the inedible canteen food or the chairman’s notorious bad taste in ties. With other audiences you mustn't attempt to cut in with humor as they will resent an outsider making disparaging remarks about their canteen or their chairman. You will be on safer ground if you stick to scapegoats like the Post Office or the telephone system."

    It appears to be advice on how to include humour when giving a talk or lecture. What it's saying is that when you are addressing a group that you are not a part of, it's risky to make fun of that group's own institution or office and safer to make fun of more remote targets, like the Post Office or telephone system. We've probably all had frustrating experiences with such corporations and they are a target for humour that everyone can identify with.

    not a teacher
    Oh.I see. There is something in what you said. The scapegoats are referring to those you may make fun of. The post office and telephone system are spoken of by the author at random as examples. It just shows the author's humour.
    Thank you very much!

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    #4

    Re: Scapegoats like

    No, they're not random. They are typical and universal.

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    #5

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Quote Originally Posted by notletrest View Post
    {ret 192}
    Notletrest, what does "{ret 192}" mean?

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    #6

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    No, they're not random. They are typical and universal.
    If you are right, can't we say y
    ou will be on safer ground if you stick to
    scapegoats like the school or hospital?
    Thanks!
    By the way, {ret 192} is just for my own reference, a symbol of where it from. I am sorry for that,troubling you.
    Thanks!

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    #7

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Can we say: you will be on safer ground if you stick to scapegoats like the school or hospital?
    Thanks!
    Last edited by notletrest; 05-Aug-2012 at 10:03. Reason: correction.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Is the school universally considered something to make fun of? Is the hospital made fun of by everyone?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Scapegoats like

    (A scapegoat is someone who is ritually blamed for something. So 'hospital' or 'school' might fit, but I don't see why you should find the original more comprehensible with those two substitutions. )

    b

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    #10

    Re: Scapegoats like

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    (A scapegoat is someone who is ritually blamed for something. So 'hospital' or 'school' might fit, but I don't see why you should find the original more comprehensible with those two substitutions. )

    b
    I see your meaning. But I don't understand the usage of "with" in your last part. Maybe it is the misspelling of than.
    Thanks!

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