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  1. #1

    Please help me understand these comments

    Hi,

    The following comments were posted in reponse to
    a blog entry about how to "win" the Iraq war.

    Could you please help me to understand the meaning
    of the words in bold?

    "Kissinger's alleged brilliance then is the same now,
    i.e., articulance and false reduction for length without
    depth
    . He repeats his germanic "uber alles" without researching his
    mutterings. Pulitzer Prize or not. He is nothing more
    than the kid on the carousel trying to grab the brass ring
    rather than a studious evaluation of the political
    environment."

    Thanks

  2. Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    .
    The blog entry is not very articulate.

    1-- false reduction for length without depth -- I suppose this means that he speaks succinctly but does not really say anything substantial.

    2-- kid on the carousel trying to grab the brass ring -- this is an old cultural reference. Years ago, the carousel or merry-go-round of the local carnival or amusement park held a special prize: a stationary peg holding a brass ring was mounted just out of reach of the riders on the periphery of the ride, and some, to show their derring-do, would attempt to grab it as they went round. Those who succeeded received some sort of small gift from the carousel operator, I believe. Here it suggests Kissinger was just trying to impress, not make a serious contribution to political analysis.
    .

  3. Junior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #3

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    I agree with Mr.M: The blog doesn't make much sense, but does convey the writer's displeasure with Kissinger.
    "Length without depth" seems to be the writer's way of saying that Kissinger is shallow, or lacking depth or substance.
    "The kid on the carousel..." seems to be a gratuitous comment that, as far as I can tell, has no relevance to the rest of the blogger's comments.

  4. #4

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    Mister Micawber, JCrawf, thanks.
    And here I was thinking that is one of the better entries
    in terms of language given that majority of the blogs have
    neither substance nor style. I had guessed that the author
    meant something like "Kissinger can talk articulately on a broad
    variety of subjects but withou depth
    ", but the "false reduction"
    part, and the "length" (instead of "breadth") completely threw me off.

    Mister Micawber, thanks for the detailed explanation about the
    brass ring. I am familiar with another expression associated
    with fairs and carnivals - "close, but no cigar" although I
    don't hear/read it that much anymore.

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    #5

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    In this context, length refers to the amount of words said and breadth refers to the meaning, or importance of those words.

    When you reduce an argument, you express its salient points without the rhetoric. False reduction would be a deliberate misinterpretation of those points. For instance, if I wrote an eloquent essay about the negative effects that illegal immigration is having on American society, a false reductionist could call it a "xenophobic screed."

    More to the point, a government that wages an unwarranted war [falsely] reduces every argument against that war to cowardice and treason.

  5. #6

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    In this context, length refers to the amount of words said and breadth refers to the meaning, or importance of those words.

    When you reduce an argument, you express its salient points without the rhetoric. False reduction would be a deliberate misinterpretation of those points. For instance, if I wrote an eloquent essay about the negative effects that illegal immigration is having on American society, a false reductionist could call it a "xenophobic screed."

    More to the point, a government that wages an unwarranted war [falsely] reduces every argument against that war to cowardice and treason.
    Oh, I see now. (and I learned a new word - 'screed').
    That was a good example about false reduction.
    And I understand the point about how the government falsely
    reduces every argument. I did not know it was called that.
    Thank you mykwyner.

    Does the sentence about "He repeats his germanic "uber alles" without researching his mutterings." seem uncalled for in this context, or
    even somewhat racist(?) or nationalist? (not sure what is the right word here).

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    #7

    Re: Please help me understand these comments

    Yes, indeed it does have tones of anti-German bigotry. I don't know if there is a word for that type of bigotry.

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