Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Universal Adjective

You know the word of which I am thinking, but I'm somewhat old-fashioned, so I will not show it here. Instead, I will use the asterisk symbol. When I was sixteen, I wrote a story in English class, in which one of the characters would certainly have used *. Knowing that this would not be appreciated by the English Master, I substituted the word "copulating". The English Master was not amused. Until recent years * was used mainly in speech. There were some folk who could hardly complete a sentence without at least one *. It did not appear in newspapers or books: such usage was taboo. Times have changed. Two of my favorite writers of fiction, both of whom have been published for at least twenty years, have recently decided to print * in their works of fiction. Patricia Cornwell uses it judiciously. The last book by John le Carré that I read- I think it was A Delicate Truth- the text is peppered with *. My biggest shock was reading Pastrix, by a Lutheran woman pastor. So far, all I have read is the introduction, where I found two *. O tempora! O mores!

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