[lit-ideas] Re: When you were in Oxford, did you dine in college?

  • From: "Veronica Caley" <molleo1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 22:02:40 -0500

This survey does not work.  I fill it in completely and then it tells me I 
didn't.  This is the second time this happened with your same survey.

Veronica Caley
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Donal McEvoy 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:37 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: When you were in Oxford, did you dine in college?

  From: "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx>

  "Michael once explained that he made a  telephone call only to be put through 
to the answering machine. He 
  observed:  “They call it an answering machine but it’s not. You can ask it 
  questions, but  it won’t give you any answers.”"

  Did no one ever say, "Michael, but they don't call it a 'question-answering 
machine'"? It answers a phone call in the sense that it connects the caller to 
a device that allows the caller to leave a message. That is why most people 
understand the expression 'answering machine' without thinking that it is there 
to answer questions asked of it and are not so foolish to even try (as you 
appear to). Often even when humans 'answer the phone' they only do so to get 
information or take a message and do not answer any questions: perhaps you 
would also like to take issue with the expression 'answer the phone' on the 
basis that no questions are necessarily answered by whoever picks up the 
receiver, so how do they answer the phone? And indeed the phone itself is 
simply a vehicle of communication that itself does not communicate, so it is 
doubly wrong an expression as we do not answer the phone but respond to the 
person ringing. I would climb the stairs to bed at this point rather than 
indulge you further in this witless quibbling except no doubt you will say it 
is untrue that I 'climb' as, in fact, I use only the soles of my feet and in 
effect 'walk up' the stairs. Unfortunately, Michael, you have typically failed 
to notice something important - how absolutely pissed I am. I shall climb.

  Master of Ordinary Language (2nd dan)

Other related posts: