Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do you know who else was an outgoing hugger?

Wherein You see Hitler hugging kids


Two heroes of mine, fighting against tyranny and oppression:

Juliet Lapidos
The word hug is of uncertain origin. In place of a proper etymology the Oxford English Dictionary cautions against confusing it with hugge-a variant of the Middle English ug, meaning to inspire with dread, loathing, or disgust. While I believe in the OED's near-infallibility, I nevertheless find myself drawn to the possibility that hug does, in fact, have some kinship with ug. It seems apt to me. At the prospect of a tight embrace, dread and loathing, if not disgust, do come to mind. So does the sound ug.[...]

Like form letters that mimic the conventions of personal notes, obligatory hugs mock true intimacy. "Dear Janet," aspiring-City Councilman Brad Lander e-mailed me after he won his Democratic primary, "Well, we did it. After two years of incredibly hard work, we won a great victory." Oh, did we? My name's not Janet, but even if it were,
I'd prefer madam. Dear Madam is prim, but honest. A real hug-the hug of consolation, let's say-soothes its target; it says you can count on me, because we're close. See how close we are? We're actually touching! The doorway hug impersonates that message, and corrupts it through casual repetition.


Jonathan Rauch
Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion*. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.


*I'm striking out that part because stopping at "no grasp" pretty much covers all of it.





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