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English Language: What is a Wonk?



     Miles Seeley writes from the MidWest:
     "I thoroughly enjoyed the 14 year-old Valley Girl's interpretations of wonkiness etc. Here in the Heart of America we are probably a year behind the Valley in Newspeak. According to a young neighbor, a wonk is a pretty dorky sort who studies endlessly and winds up full of facts with little real knowledge. To him, Clinton is a wonk, Gore is a Wonk, Bush is a would-be wonk who hires others to do the actual studying (leaving him basically clueless). Bradley is somewhat appealing because he's cool but a certified loser-to-be. This young man has an odd respect for McCain even though McCain is from a completely different world.
     When my daughter was studying geophysics at San Diego State and hanging out with surfers and reggae bands, she once provided me with a dictionary of current Newspeak and I found it hilarious. Now it's hopelessly out of date."


     My comment: McCain, whom the New York Times has just endorsed, appeals to many people as a genuine person. Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes come across as intelligent, informed and articulate. Both are Catholics, and I disagree with them on important points. However, my concern is that our whole civilization may collapse, as they point out. The English language may be the canary in the mine.

Ronald Hilton - 3/5/00


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