The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, or does it?

Do you have a tattoo to care for? If not, shouldn’t you ask yourself, why not? Butterflies on calves, angel wings on shoulders, Celtic crosses across chests of law-abiding citizens have superseded
Do you have a tattoo to care for? If not, shouldn’t you ask yourself, why not? Butterflies on calves, angel wings on shoulders, Celtic crosses across chests of law-abiding citizens have superseded [More]

Leibniz and Europe

At the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, national states were on the rise. Versailles was constructed as a stage on which the Sun King, Louis XIV, acted out the pageant of absolute
At the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, national states were on the rise. Versailles was constructed as a stage on which the Sun King, Louis XIV, acted out the pageant of absolute [More]

Exotic – Episode 38 – The Oxford Comment

The word “exotic” can take on various different meanings and connotations, depending on how it is used. It can serve as an adjective or a noun, to describe a commodity, a person, or even a human
The word “exotic” can take on various different meanings and connotations, depending on how it is used. It can serve as an adjective or a noun, to describe a commodity, a person, or even a human [More]

The last -ism?

There has lately been something like an arms race in literary studies to name whatever comes after postmodernism. Post-postmodernism, cosmodernism, digimodernism, automodernism, altermodernism, and
There has lately been something like an arms race in literary studies to name whatever comes after postmodernism. Post-postmodernism, cosmodernism, digimodernism, automodernism, altermodernism, and [More]

The origins of political order

What importance do the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean have for us? This question has been answered in different ways over the centuries, but for a long time the cultures of ancient
What importance do the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean have for us? This question has been answered in different ways over the centuries, but for a long time the cultures of ancient [More]

Colombia: the embattled road to peace

Is absolute peace throughout a nation ever truly attainable and sustainable? Can a country ever unite as one entity in the face of extreme opposing views and ideals throughout the land, its people
Is absolute peace throughout a nation ever truly attainable and sustainable? Can a country ever unite as one entity in the face of extreme opposing views and ideals throughout the land, its people [More]

The Enlightenment and visual impairment

Blindness is a recurrent image in Enlightenment rhetoric. It is used in a political context to indicate a lack of awareness, seen in a letter from Edmund Burke to the chevalier de La Bintinnaye, in
Blindness is a recurrent image in Enlightenment rhetoric. It is used in a political context to indicate a lack of awareness, seen in a letter from Edmund Burke to the chevalier de La Bintinnaye, in [More]

A timeout: the methods of etymology

I expected that my series on dogs would inspire a torrent of angry comments. After all, dog is one of the most enigmatic words in English etymology, but the responses were very few. I am, naturally,
I expected that my series on dogs would inspire a torrent of angry comments. After all, dog is one of the most enigmatic words in English etymology, but the responses were very few. I am, naturally, [More]

How brothers became buddies and bros

The Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) latest update includes more than 1,800 fully revised entries, including the entry for brother and many words relating to it. During the revision process,
The Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) latest update includes more than 1,800 fully revised entries, including the entry for brother and many words relating to it. During the revision process, [More]

The shambolic life of ‘shambles’

You just lost your job. Your partner broke up with you. You’re late on rent. Then, you dropped your iPhone in the toilet. “My life’s in shambles!” you shout. Had you so exclaimed, say, in an
You just lost your job. Your partner broke up with you. You’re late on rent. Then, you dropped your iPhone in the toilet. “My life’s in shambles!” you shout. Had you so exclaimed, say, in an [More]