An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday June 11th 2019Tim Candler9


    Bag is safe enough as a flexible container, a small sack, possibly a Norse origin in baggage, and in the 1920's bag went downhill, in the 1970's came to be used sometimes by milkmen as a disparaging description of a fussy housewife, as in 'Not that old bag again!' But can't find the origin of the word Sleaze beyond a definition from 1967 were sleaze is defined as a 'condition of squalor.' In other places there's a suggestion that sleaze has something to do with inferior quality, as in 'the lining of this coat is sleazy.'  Safe to say that since 1967 the word sleaze and the antics of the political class often figure in the same sentence. And yes, it's also true that 'some sleazy characters hang around casinos.' In a sense I guess there's an element of the casino in the halls of power. At the same time, it's pretty much been like that since the dawn of agriculture and the idea of property as the winning combination around which a society might bond, produce then squander surplus.



   Oddly enough the word Cad, an unprincipled and ungentlemanly person, derives from the word Caddie. A Caddie is Scottish for one who does odd jobs, and who carries golf clubs around. The word Bounder, in the 1560's, was one who set boundaries. Clearly it's a role ripe with possibilities, and in time came to mean an 'ill-bred, unscrupulous man.' The suggestion is that the word bounder reflected one who lives outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. Nonetheless between the expression "You sir, are a cad and a bounder" and the expression "You sir, are a sleazebag" there's some kind of difference. Not certain where the line is, but one thing's for sure, current affairs do grant a perfect opportunity to explore the nuances. And here I do have the impression that the senior senator from my own state of Kentucky is a 'cad and a bounder,' whereas the current chief executive officer of the United States fits better into the 'sleazebag' category. All of which may, but not necessarily, suggest the difference has something to do with that most useful adjunct of ego, competence.


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