A question for cultured readers

OK, I just finished off a piece for the _New Statesman_ on the uses of heresy with the following sentence: %(sane) “You say _’homoousios’_ and I say _’homoiousios’_ but we are each trying to get the other to say ‘uncle’.”% I did explain the Greek words earlier, since I could imagine that they would dcause trouble. But I was surprised when the editor of the section said she didn’t know what it meant to “say ‘uncle’.” She’s a woman of about my age, whom I have known for years. Does anyone else find the expression strange? Am I marooned in the last century? Should I admit that I’d rather the Greek words were typeset in Greek?

This entry was posted in Journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A question for cultured readers

  1. Well you could at least have said it in Latin: Patrue, mi Patruissimo.

  2. I haven’t heard the expression in quite a while, so it may have passed out of fashion.

  3. I’ve heard the expression many times, first encountering it in ‘Catch-22’. I could certainly use it happily in a sentence, but I don’t understand the background to the saying.

  4. Rupert says:

    I know the expression, & have possibly even used it a couple of times (unlike the Greek), but I think I got it from books rather than conversation.

  5. Oliver says:

    I’m pretty sure its an expression of American origin, and that I learned it from Heinlein

  6. Oliver says:

    further to its origin — isn’t it what the stronger child beating up the weaker/holding the weaker in a half nelson/waterboarding the weaker requires the weaker to say in order to be released?

Comments are closed.