ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

This quarterly journal provides peer-reviewed articles on topics relating to general semantics.

Articles from Vol. 69, No. 2, April

A Difference That Makes a Difference
Over the years, I've heard people, especially those involved with Neuro-Linguistic Programming, use the phrase "a difference that makes a difference." It has a catchy sound to it and the notion intrigues a lot of people who, at the very least, think...
A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness
Nassir Ghaemi. A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness. New York: Penguin, 2011. Nassir Ghaemi, a professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical School and the director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical...
A General Semantics Analysis of the RMS Titanic Disaster
... And as the smart ship grew In stature, grace, and hue, In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too. From The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy Introduction RMS Titanic, the largest moving object of its time, began its maiden voyage...
Chiasmus as a Mode of Probing
Of the Lonrd and Man Kenneth Burke asks: "Do we simply use words, or do they not also use us?" (1) Likewise, is man simply God's creature, an extension of Him? Isn't God also man's creature, an extension of him? As an extension of man, God...
Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America
Shawn Lawrence Otto. Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. New York: Rodale, 2011. So many of the major problems that confront people today, like global warming, the loss of biodiversity, and pollution in the atmosphere, can...
Hidden Divinities
Over 100 years ago, Henry Preserved Smith, an American biblical scholar whom the Presbytery of Cincinnati tried for heresy in 1892, claimed to have found about 150 names of divinities in the Jewish Bible, many of them given to individuals. He commented...
Is the Computer a Communist?
Sometimes I wonder about metaphors that are a bit troubling. I tend to avoid thinking about them. But eventually I wind up writing about them. The computer is a communist is one such metaphor. The dictionary defines a communist as one who believes...
Meaning in Silence and the Quaker Tradition
In calm and cool silence, once again I find my old accustomed place among brethren, where, perchance, no human tongue Shall utter words; where hymn is never sung, Nor deep-toned organ blown, nor censer swung; Nor dim light falling through...
Plausible Quotations and Reverse Credibility in Online Vernacular Communities
Cyberspace includes information that lacks vetting by traditional gatekeepers such as editors and librarians. One growing type of online information is unsourced quotations attributed to well-known individuals. After summarizing the history of textual...
Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices
Noah Feldman. Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices. New York: Twelve, 2010. In this compelling biography, Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman tells the story of four larger-than-life Supreme Court justices...
Teaching Writing through General Semantics and General Semantics through Writing: A Stylistic Approach
Overview The poet Jeffrey Skinner (1988, p. 65) muses that "Words rise and the sky accepts them, makes no comment." The sky may be able to afford accepting words without comment. However, Skinner adds that "The news, that blunt instrument, chants...
The Language of Scam Spams: Linguistic Features of "Nigerian Fraud" E-Mails
This article examines the general nature, history, and language features of one type of fraudulent e-mail spam, the ubiquitous Nigerian fraud (4-1-9) letter. Patterns in content include similar narratives involving vast sums of money to be transferred...
The Place of the Other
Gary Gumpert recalls: Midway in the twenty-first century, 1952 to be precise, I walked into a speech class of instructor Harry Weinberg at Temple University as I began the lifelong process of aphorism gathering. He introduced me to Alfred Korzybski,...
The Rhetorical - Theatrical Sensibility as Equipment for Living
Introduction The linkage between rhetoric and theater is a preexisting one. As mediums of communication, both are addressed, embodied, and performative. Both constitute and appeal to an audience, which is there to exercise judgment. Both produce...
What Is True, and What Is Real Providing the Non-Aristotelian Tools to Orient You
"This is why the 'discovery of the obvious' is often difficult; it involves very many semantic factors of new evaluation and meanings." (Korzybski, 1973, p. 29) What could be more obvious than knowing what is real and true? I wish to demonstrate...