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February 08, 2005

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Jim Glass

"That reminds me of the Sidney Morgenbesser story which I'm pasting from the New York Sun:

[V]isiting Oxford philosopher J. L. Austin... noted that it was peculiar that although there are many languages in which a double negative makes a positive, no example existed where two positives expressed a negative. In a dismissive voice, Morgenbesser replied from the audience, 'Yeah, yeah...'"

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Yes, I've decided the Sun is worth my 25 cents daily. For a broadsheet how can you beat it?

From the same obit:

"Once a policeman approached Morgenbesser and told him there was no smoking on the subway. Morgenbesser responded that he was leaving the subway and hadn’t lit up yet.

"When the cop said, 'If I let you do it, I’d have to let everyone do it,' Morgenbesser replied, 'Who do you think you are — Kant?'.

"The cop mistook this German philosopher for a vulgar epithet, and Morgenbesser had to explain it all down at police station."

And there was this great advice for academics everywhere...

"... Morgenbesser sometimes regretted not publishing much, but often said, 'if your grandmother knew it, don’t publish it.'"

More:

http://daily.nysun.com/Repository/getmailfiles.asp?Style=OliveXLib:ArticleToMail&Type=text/html&Path=NYS/2004/08/03&ID=Ar01400

Oh, yeah, the man was a baseball fan too...

"Morgenbesser once talked of three types of umpires: the realist who says,'I call them the way they are'; subjectivist who says, 'I call them the way I see them,' and the conventionalist, who declares, 'I call them and then they are.'"

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