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by Alex in Toulouse
Mon May 15th, 2006 at 08:44:51 AM EST
blunder. v. intr. to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness
Blundering, in its verbal form, could be construed as an art, if at least for the delicate balancing nature of the material behind it. ie. contrarily to what the dictionary may say, I am in a position to reveal to you that verbal blundering requires a very careful mix of:
When a man realises that he has just committed a verbal blunder, a possible reaction of his will be to cover his mouth and blush. Though in some populations the reaction will be a slap on the forehead with the palm of the hand.
Verbal blundering could be categorised in the following main groups:
- Major verbal blunders
Verbal blunders whose consequences can range from anger to extreme sadness (in the victim of the blunder), and which will make the perpetrator wish s/he was suddenly transported under a rock, miles away. A typical example would be blundering about someone's death.
- Annoying verbal blunders
A verbal blunder which will make the perpretrator feel some degree of guilt, and which will annoy the victim. A typical example would be blundering about someone's sexual orientation.
- Jolly good verbal blunders
This type of verbal blunder is inconsequential, and will at worst provoke a bit of schadenfreude from the victim. A general reaction will instead be one of joyful embarassment for the blunderer, finding himself suddenly surrounded with general laughter. A typical example would be blundering about someone's makeup.
Not everything stupid that comes out of your mouth should be considered as a verbal blunder. For instance I would say that the following phenomenons are not verbal blunders:
freudian slips ("I suck at everything I touch")
intentional ironic mismatches, or basically anything with "intentional" prepended to it ("heh, you look like you slept under a bridge", if perpretator knows that this is not the case). politicians for instance are known to practice carefully crafted blunders, meant to destabilise the victim, and at no embarassement cost for the perpetrator.
hard knowldege failures ("I'm sorry, I didn't know that Muslims don't eat pork")
My favourite personal verbal blunder:
Several years ago, I was at my girlfriend's place and she had invited one of her friends over (a girl). I hadn't seen her friend in a few months, and so immediately noticed that her nose looked completely different. I immediately snapped "wow your nose looks really great! superb idea to have plastic surgery!". Which it didn't (ie. didn't look great), I was only being polite and blabbering the first thing that came to mind. The girl's reaction: "I fell off a horse".
For some reason I portray you as something of a good verbal blunderer, am I wrong? ;))
Fuck cars. I don't want any excuses of distance and what not. Take a fucking bus. Cars are killing us all, killing the trees, killing the Earth. Fuck cars.
Sorry, it just had to come out. I take that back. Ambulances, family trips, handicapped people etc etc I can think of a million decent reasons for people to drive cars. It just had to come out, sorry again.
I was going to write about peak oil but I blundered and this came out instead.
In a college class long ago the word harrass somehow came up in the conversation. For reasons that escape me now, the conversation took a detour into the proper pronunciation of the word. The prof claimed the proper pronunciation would obviously be harris. I quicky replied that I always thought it looked like her ass. For about four heartbeats the silence was deafening.
Some years ago my work took me into a particular electrical supply store fairly often. The young woman behind the counter was attractive and personable but, shall we say, a bit on the pudgy side. One day I went in the store for the first time after an absense of a couple of months. I almost didn't recognize the young woman. She had dropped a LOT of weight. She looked positively svelt. I looked at her with some concern and asked, "Wow, you've lost a lot of weight. Have you been sick?" She didn't answer and the look she gave me didn't invite any further conversation. Later a colleague told me she had just gone through one of those expensive, doctor supervised weight loss programs.
My wife says I have chronic foot in mouth disease.
We all bleed the same color.
Does that make sense? He'd been remarking that she should be called "Demanda" and I didn't get it. And ended up making a fool of myself and getting him in big trouble too...
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
And let me say that this is a great, great diary! Bravo for the idea!
I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde
It was a good tale, I thought, and I was making very life-like impersonations of my dog's barking, when it suddenly dawned on me that things had become awfully quiet around me. And when I looked up and around I found the eyes of entire class (30 something plus the teacher!!!) resting on me, and all faces carrying extremely broad grins. I managed to murmur to my friend, "Well, I guess I tell you the rest during the break...." And the teacher came to my desk and berated me privately, but highly amused...
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