Dog's Dinner

"You're not loved because you're lovable, you're lovable 'cause you're loved."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Ourself and Each Other

What was it Springer used to say? "Be good to yourself. And each other"? or was it "yourselves and each other?" Haven't watched the show for a while. But as a teacher of English in Poland I've been pretty firm about correcting the use of "self" to mean "other," as in "The Poles and Russians have had a difficult history, but now they get along with themselves." In Polish, as in Russian, the same reflexive verb form can be used for mutual (now that's another can of worms, perhaps, but not here where I'm just using it to mean "shared") and reflexive (or, if you like, "self-reflexive") actions and feelings, although in both languages one can always use a stronger form (involving the word or particle "Sam," as in "SAM. I. AM") to indicate reflexivity. In English, however, it's always been my feeling that the "themselves" (or "your/ourselves") and "each other" are two different things. I'd be curious to know, when Jesus commanded the disciples to "Love one another," did he really mean "Love yourselves"? (Small Man, get on the case.)

Or is it the same thing? The other day I bought a cheap DVD for my new computer, just something to bicycle to, "The Skulls," a total piece of crap, not good enough to be called "shlock," a film which riffs feebly on the aura of devilment surrounding Yale's Skull and Bones society... towards the end, when it became clear that there was a sort of gang war going on within the society, the twerpy protagonist explained, "It's a war between Skulls, where they kill themselves..." clearly meaning not mass suicide but mutual warfare. Have you ever heard such a thing? The question is not rhetorical. I'm beginning to slide into the descriptive camp, and if you can find another example of such usage I'd be innerested. Or is it just another example of general decline? I know we're all one, but isn't it pretty to think otherwise?


At 5:37 AM, Blogger Faith Williams said...

Great to see your blog back up. Even though I've been with the real man, I like the other too, as a sort of hypertext or footnote.


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