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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    brilliant rabble-fodder

    What does "brilliant rabble-fodder" mean? Does it mean "good fodder for a crowd who have no brain to think about the truth of things"?


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    Richard Dawkins tweeted 4h:
    If Reagan [quoted in The Power Worshippers] were trapped on an island with only 1 book, he’d take the Bible: “All the complex questions facing us at home and abroad … have their answer in that single book.” That’s either dismally, droolingly stupid or brilliant rabble-fodder

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    #2

    Re: brilliant rabble-fodder

    "Fodder" is food for animals or, metaphorically, ideas that appeal to a group of people. A rabble is a disparaging term for a large group of people. "Brilliant rabble-fodder" is an idea which has been very well selected to appeal to a large group of people.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: brilliant rabble-fodder

    Those are all good answers. About the hypen:

    We don't see the whole sentence, but fodder might be a noun there. If it is, there shouldn't be a hyphen.

    But if it's part of an adjective, like "That was a brilliant rabble-fodder speech she gave today," then the hyphen belongs there.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: brilliant rabble-fodder

    Rabble-fodder is a compound noun in Dawkins's evocative phrase. He omitted the final period ("full stop" in British English). It needs the hyphen.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: brilliant rabble-fodder

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Rabble-fodder is a compound noun in Dawkins's evocative phrase. He omitted the final period ("full stop" in British English). It needs the hyphen.
    Thanks! Funny language, this one. You never know.

    At least, I never know.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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