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Up the nose

I have been wondering who thought it was a good idea to install in men’s rooms those little devices that periodically emit a little jet of cheap scent.

It does nothing to cancel out the underlying smell of the premises, merely adding one offensive aroma atop another. It’s rather as if someone went to the zoo and spritzed the bonobos with Dollar Store perfume.

While I am mentioning unpleasant smells, the arrival of the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War has put the Confederate apologists into acceleration.* The ugly fact is that while, yes, there were political, cultural, and economic differences between the North and the South, slavery was, by the secessionists’ own statements, the main state’s right that they cared about. If you want to commemorate the Confederacy, you cannot evade that stench, and you have to come to terms that the South had many brave and good men who fought heroically in a bad cause.


*I won’t go into the risible apologetics of a letter writer to The Sun in today’s editions unless you provoke me.


Posted by John McIntyre at 11:57 PM | | Comments (6)


Consider yourself provoked. Let's hear! :-)

Not about good or bad, but I think we must recognize the Civl War for what it was, a war mainly about slavery and how to end it. This doesn’t make the South bad and the North good, as both sides engaged in a heinous practice in order to be prosperous at the expense of an entire people. The fact is, slavery was the issue, and we are, as a nation, both North and South, Red and Blue, conservative and liberal, completely responsible for it. May God have mercy.

The ugly fact is that while, yes, there were political, cultural, and economic differences between the North and the South,

It's also a good time to remind editors to carefully read stories on Civil War topics. Last week, a story in one of our local papers included references to "Union invaders" and "occupied Virginia." Not in quotes, mind you, in the text. That wording would only be acceptable if you don't consider the government of the United States to be legitimate. I wonder if the newspaper's staff celebrated when the Pentagon was attacked on 9/11?

I hope that "spritzing the bonobos" will become a new expression for futility. I certainly intend to use it at the next opportunity.

Prof. McI.,

Curious, that of all the 'funky monkeys' (well, actually apes) out there, you should choose the highly social, hyper-sexually demonstrative bonobos? Really, no big deal.

I would think chimps, gorillas and mandrills would be just as inherently stinky, but perhaps giving off fewer pheromones than the randy bonobos, tending to be less 'hyperactive' than their oft centered-out primate cousins.

I have to agree w/ you that most of those low-tech odor masking devices used in men's rooms these days are next to useless, including the circular dissolvable deodorizing urinal discs, that tend to merely promote an offensive, weird, tertiary ambient smell, that even trumps the primal residual stench on the pungency scale. (UGH!) Enough said.

@John Cowan, by-the-by, I liked your notion of "spritzing the bonobos" becoming a code phrase for "a new expression of futility".

Not unlike "hiking the Appalachian Trail", which a few years back became code for gubernatorial infidelity, a la disgraced , now former North Carolina governor Sanford. (Don't cry for me Argentina. HA!)

Ducky "Silverback" Isaksson.

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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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