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Best comment ever

Of nearly seven thousand comments on this blog, my favorite, made today, comes from Picky, in a response to my remarking that I allow my readers to express themselves freely and at length, without interference:

Ah, but that's just the Fabian glove that hides the grim mailed fist of oppression. Your tolerance is in fact an act of violence against the toiling masses.

Full marks for working in Fabian.



Posted by John McIntyre at 12:51 PM | | Comments (12)


John McI.,

Dare I say, old Picky can, on rare occasions, rise to rare-fied (HA!) heights of eloquence, as well as the true depths of profundity------- a wise man, indeed.

(For someone who has felt the sharp sting of Picky's (mostly constructively) critical verbal lashings on more than a few occasions on this blog, that praise was awfully tough to muster. HA!)

Mr. 'Mac', I concur that blogger Picky has uncorked a vintage doozy of a turn-of-phrase, oozing a smidgen of hyperbole, wrapped in clever metaphor, and most worthy of your "best comment ever" recognition. No major quibble there.

Surely Picky's "Fabian", in his comment, can't be the former pompidored teen-heartthrob, 'bubblegum' singer of the late '50s-to-early-'60s, Philadelphia-born, Fabian Forte?

Hmm........ I don't believe Fabian was pop music's first recording artist to be labelled by the media as "The Gloved One". That honor, of course, belonging exclusively to the late-great King of Pop, Michael Jackson. But I digress.

Seriously folks. Picky's use of "Fabian" is surely a nod to the British, 20th-century-born, Fabian Society---- the grassroots socialist political movement that eventually gave rise to the U.K.'s Labor Party. Oh.......... THAT "Fabian". Hmm.......?

Picky's telling comment is clearly alluding to the familiar adage re/ the symbolic crushing iron fist ("mailed fist"), concealed in the seemingly inoffensive, soft and pliant velvet glove ("Fabian glove"). Giving credence to that wise homily-----looks can be deceiving.

Picky, I love your passage, "the grim mailed fist of oppression", conjuring up in my sicko mind a vision of our intrepid blogmeister as some ancient kilted, proud Clan McIntyre Highland warrior, massive mighty claymore grasped in mailed fists, summarily lopping off sundry bloggers' 'heeds' w/ sanguine relish, howling at the top of his lungs, " You idiots! I told ye this reign of freedom would be short-lived, ye run-at-the-mouth-think-ye-can-ramble-on-about-any-olde-thing amateur opiners. Off with your 'heeds'! (LOP !..... THUD!)

Whew! Then thankfully I came to my senses, wondering how I could have ever put our seemingly docile, unthreatening Mr. 'Mac' into such a frighteningly gruesome, nightmarishly violent, all be it imagined, scenario. What was I thinking?

Hmm.......I think i'll just tee up my vintage "45s" record (vinyl) player w/ that needle thingy, and take Fabian's break-out smash hit, "Turn Me Loose", for a little spin, or two, harking back to the less harried, less contentious, slower-paced days of my misspent youth. HA!

Bravo Picky!


If only the Fabians had been as entertaining as the singer Fabian. Hey ho!

I don't suppose you ever suffered the tv series "Fabian of the Yard"?

And apologies, John, for not having acknowledged your kind comment. The truth is I am still mumbling in an embarrassed and blushful manner.

I am so far innocent of "Fabian of the Yard." I do, however, recall "Department S," which had no Fabians in it.

It had the dreadful Jason King.

You're a scholar, Patricia: isn't the plural fabiani?

It had the dreadful Jason King.

You're a scholar, Patricia: isn't the plural fabiani?

Fabian's real name was Fabiano Anthony Forte, so yes, the plural would be Fabiani. The original Latin clan name was Fabius, plural Fabii, referring to a fava bean (same word).

Relatively little is known about Clan McIntyre (Mac an t-Saoir 'son of the carpenter'; the S is silent) before the last two centuries, as earlier records (if they ever existed) have been lost. They did manage to fight for both King Charles and King George during the 'Forty-five, a not uncommon strategy among smaller clans who couldn't afford to alienate either the Stewarts/Stuarts or the Campbells. In any case, the rent owed on the main estate in Glennoe to the Campbells came to be unaffordable, and the chief of Clan McIntyre emigrated to the U.S. in 1806, where his descendants including the current chief live today. MacIntyres go by many spellings including Macateer, MacEntron, Tyre, and the anglicizations Carpenter and Wright.

Patricia was teasing me, JC. Department S starred Joel Fabiani.

I believe our Mr McIntyre traces his roots to Northern Ireland. The same clan, I take it, still trying to avoid paying the rent?

The traditional annual rent the MacIntyres paid, I've read, was a white calf and a snowball. When the clan ill-advisedly switched to a payment of cash money, they couldn't come up with the ready and lost the land.

Haven't done any genealogical research, but it's probably safe to assume that my forebears, Scotch-Irish, were thought to be less desirable on the premises than sheep

How, pray, did we modulate to the Scots, again? Fabiani were much more interesting,not to say lyrical.

As I think of it, Verdi really missed an opportunity. He could have written "I Fabiani."

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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