[lit-ideas] The blocking of viruses

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 09:14:23 +0100


        * Britain warned to expect ‘a handful’ of Ebola cases in coming months 
Britain warned to expect ‘a handful’ of Ebola cases in c...
Virus specialists are critical of government plans to try to keep virus out of 
UK by monitoring ports and airports  
View on www.theguardian.com Preview by Yahoo  
Health experts criticise government plans to try and block virus at ports and 

"to try and block" = "to try blocking". Not wishing to confuse a real emergency 
with what may only be a grammatical one, but shouldn't also "Grammar experts" 
be criticising the government plans here expressed? At face grammatical value, 
the government plan (a) to try and (b) to block - and who could criticise them 
for this, as we all like a trier and we all like a winner (a trier who 
succeeds)? Yet underneath this, we know the government is not really both 
trying and succeeding but is trying to succeed but probably failing - that is, 
it is merely 'trying to block' rather than actually 'trying and blocking'. 
Scratch the surface of the grammar here and some hideous underlying reality is 

So what may once have seemed harmless enough in casual everyday speech has 
spread now to headlines in national newspapers. People infected are often not 
aware they carry the virus and their casual verbal contact with others can lead 
to it spreading unawares, and even into more formalized areas of expression 
["And Jesus said unto them to try and do good and not bad."] But there is 
reason to be cheerful. Eventually those infected reach a zombie state where 
their ungrammatical spasms acquire the status of the accepted norm through 
sheer widespreadedness, at which point they acquire the status of grammatical 
and their viral quality suddenly disappears. (Not the case with Ebola.)


On Friday, 10 October 2014, 8:37, "cblists@xxxxxxxx" <cblists@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

On 08 Oct 2014, at 10:51, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Fascinating. Chris, do you endorse what it says?

Hmmm - a difficult question. Most of the facts are correct and the 'insights' 
are interesting (although I don't agree with them all). I think more needs to 
be said about the Left Party (particularly its Marxist 'core'). 

And for me one of the biggest factors in the difference between Germany and 
many other western democracies is its system of proportional representation. 
Providing that a party gets at least 5% of the popular vote, it gets a 
percentage of the seats in the federal and provincial parliaments (roughly) 
equal to the percentage of the popular votes which it receives. Thus most 
governments are coalitions, which has a huge effect. And new parties emerge to 
become significant political forces rather quickly - compare the performance of 
the Green Party in Germany with that of its counterparts in the US or Canada. 
(It is understandable that people will not vote for parties which they might 
otherwise endorse when individual candidates have no chance of winning seats 
and hence the party has no chance of gaining seats in a parliament.)

In addition to the Left Party, the Pirate Party, the Alternative for 
Deutschland Party and, unfortunately the NPD (radical right, considered by many 
to be neo-nazi) all hold seats in provincial and European parliaments. (In 
addition to the seats they also receive state funding).

Chris Bruce,
Kiel, Germany

> On Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 3:53 PM, <cblists@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> An interesting article on the re-united Germany, 25 years after the fall of 
> the Berlin Wall in November, 1989:
> http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/how-east-germany-influences-modern-day-german-politics-a-994410.html
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