A Couple of Questions About Emotional Versus Cognitive Speech and Time

When somebody says something emotional they tend to keep saying it. It takes the form of an eruption or outburst that starts out small, goes on for a while building in intensity, and then tapers off. So for example:

“Why did you leave the garbage in the room? Didn’t you see it? Did you think somebody else was going to do it? I can’t believe you!”

And even if the person listening to this speech says “OK I will take the garbage outside.” the other person will typically continue “You know I’m not your slave. I don’t ask you to do much. But you don’t even do that!” and so forth.

And there are positive versions as well “I can’t believe you did that! You’re so wonderful! I’m so lucky to have you!” and so forth.

In both of these there is a contrast with language that is cognitive or conveys information or whatever you want to call it. But if someone says “The atomic number of helium is 2” they don’t continue “It really is! It’s sure 2! You’re not gonna believe how much it’s true that it’s 2.” They just say it and move on?

My questions are:

1)Why is this so?

2)Is it a good thing?


The Scoundrelly Nature of the Phanariots

Shortly after I got married in the early 90s I went to visit Sasha and his wife in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Sasha (Alexander) had been a political prisoner in Romania under Communism, and as he reported the story had while in his cell been visited by an angel, who had told him to persevere. I asked his wife if she believed the angel was real, and she rolled her eyes — yeah, right.

Sasha loved America and his only regret was that he had gotten here in his late 70s because he had missed the easy opportunity America afforded to become a millionaire. If he had gotten here any earlier, even if in his 60s, he would have become a millionaire. If you were an American and you were not a millionaire, he felt you were stupid.

But stupid was not his chosen word of reproach. That was “ticalos.” Google Translate provides the following translation for a ticalos: villain, scoundrel, knave, wretch, miscreant, and for the adjective, the adjectival forms with the addition of “skunk”, which, if you know English you know is actually a noun. These are all very old-fashioned words, and Sasha employed them to explain his view of the world. The Communists of Romania were ticalos. The fascists who preceded them: ticalos. The wealthy families who ruled Romania before the coming of fascism: ticalos. The Phanariot Greeks (the tax farmers of the Ottomans) foarte (strongly) ticalos.

What an old-fashioned way of looking at things from this man who had been imprisoned by the communists and made his way to a former race track in upstate New York where his only regret was he arrived too late to be a millionaire!

But look it up with google if you care to. The Phanariots were scoundrelly, there can be no doubt. Those who think otherwise are somehow for some reason unable to look reality in the face. And that shirking vision is at least part of the reason that they are not yet millionaires.

Despite his bracingly truthful way of looking at things Sasha was a very kind man.


You’re Going to Pretend I Didn’t Say That

It made you uncomfortable, so you’re going to pretend I didn’t say that — just let a few hours or a day go by and then send a text on some other topic.

And it seems like a good strategy, I know, because you don’t want to answer either by saying yes or no — you wish the topic would just disappear. But the sad thing is everything you or I say from now on will be according to the new rule you have just instituted, that sometimes we will say things and pretend we didn’t.

And with that rule in place it’s hard to make yourself listen.

Isn’t it?


Those Twins! Those Twins!

Those twins! Those twins! They performed briefly in the 1920s under the name “The Fabulous Pip and Flip” and then disappeared from the public gaze for forty years, only to be discovered by a Swiss folklorist and his wife in the mid 70s during the vaudeville revival during which they recorded a single album as “The Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Players.”

One died unfortunately.

I talked to the remaining twin in the Motion Picture Television and Vaudeville Convalescent Home in Eagle Rock towards the end of her life and asked her if she was Pip or Flip and she said she didn’t know, that either she had forgotten or she had never thought to inquire. Sometimes she railed bitterly against the dead one claiming he had stolen the proceeds from the act, sometimes she cried because she missed him.


Did You Do Dark Magic, Papa?

-Yeah. I suppose I did. I was mad. It was a while ago. But yes. I did.

-And that’s why we’re all cursed?

-What you have is only a curse if you choose to treat it as such.

-What made the magic dark, Papa?

-Well I wouldn’t call it dark. But those as think the world is a fight between the One who made it, and the one who fights that one, think that calling the one who made it your enemy forever more, and calling on the voices of ruin that rend the night to protect you from then on in, well, to be honest sweet child, they call that pretty dark.

-I don’t think that’s dark at all, Papa.

-Neither do I. And if it is dark, it’s colorful. A dark red or blue or orange.


-Indeed. Also I did some stuff with fluids that some folk find right disgusting, but what do we call those people?