Did you ever wonder where the metaphor of falsely shouting fire in a theater comes from? Several years ago, I was co-writing a book about American political repression with Ellen Schrecker, the brilliant historian of McCarthyism. We came across a fantastic article by University of Texas legal scholar Lucas Powe that made a strong case for where Oliver Wendell Holmes, who came up with the metaphor, might have gotten the idea for it. Ellen followed up Powe’s hypothesis with some extensive sleuthing in the Michigan archives, and what follows is the result of her research and our writing. [click to continue…]

Village Life

by Kieran Healy on February 17, 2013

This classic piece of _New York Times_ [Style Section trolling](http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/fashion/creating-hipsturbia-in-the-suburbs-of-new-york.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&) on “Hipsturbia” wrestles with the bitter fact that while “Brooklyn no longer feels as carefree as it did”, to “pull up stakes in Brooklyn … one has to make peace with the idea that a certain New York adventure is over”. The hipsters flee to the suburbs, but of course not just any sort of suburb: ‘“[Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way](http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/fashion/creating-hipsturbia-in-the-suburbs-of-new-york.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&),” Mr. Wallach said.’ The mind boggles. Although penetrating Mr Wallach’s private language is perhaps impossible and almost certainly inadvisable, to show the fly out of the fly bottle we here present the …

### Top Ten Ways that Hastings-on-Hudson might be a Village in a Wittgensteinian Sense

10. It is filled with very rich people affecting to be quite poor people.
9. It’s located in a Remote Part of Norway.
8. If a lion could live in this village, we would not be able to find it a decent duplex. Maybe a condo.
7. The HOAs are *unbelievably* picky about exterior paintwork, door design, and
appropriate methods of kite-flying.
6. The configuration of the objects forms the atomic fact. In the atomic fact objects hang one in another, like the members of a chain. However, hanging laundry on chains at any time is absolutely forbidden.
5. Cutting-edge methods of elementary school instruction designed to enhance discipline, focus, and respect.
4. A property is internal if it is unthinkable that its object does not possess it, and is located inside the line demarcated on the relevant county plat map page.
3. Feeding the duckrabbits is forbidden by local ordinance.
2. Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent after 10pm except on public holidays.
1. Slightly distressing sense of family resemblance amongst everyone you meet.

GOP Outreach Efforts Proceed Apace

by John Holbo on February 17, 2013

A post by Michael Walsh, at the Corner, advocating repeal of the 19th Amendment:

And women’s suffrage … well, let’s just observe that without it Barack Obama could never have become president. Time for the ladies to take one for the team.

Who’s with me?

Not enough women, would be my back-of-the-envelope guesstimate.

Just so you know I can explain a joke as well as anyone: the form of this ‘repeal the 19th’ joke is that he knows it’s not acceptable to say so. So he says so, knowing people will realize he must be joking. But the thing is: he isn’t! On some level! Otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. But you could never get him to admit that. He’ll always have ‘it was a joke!’ deniability, due to the manifest unacceptability of his opinions. Even though it wouldn’t be a joke unless, on some level, it wasn’t a joke. That’s what makes it hilarious! Hide in plain sight! Anti-feminism ninja! I wonder why more women don’t vote GOP? They must not have a sense of humor. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Go team! Go team! Go team! (We are so clever. What? We lost again? Dumb broads, this is all their fault.)