Saturday, August 25, 2007

Point of precision

And it's a small point, but...

Flaunting is not flouting. And vice versa.

Guess it doesn't come up all that often, in general, but a couple times in the last week or so, I've heard a commentator or interviewee on NPR misuse the term, saying "flaunt" (to display ostentatiously) when he means "flout" (to disregard blatantly). And NPR is supposed to represent the smart guys, right?

For instance, I heard someone being interviewed yesterday say, "Sudan is flaunting the U.N. arms embargo."

No they're not. If they were flaunting it, they'd be waving it around on a flag and yelling "Hey check out this bitchen arms embargo - we are totally LOVING enforcing these rules!" rather than, um, keeping the trade in illicit arms going strong, keeping up the violence in Darfur, and thus violating, or flouting, said embargo.

Once again, kids: You flaunt your wealth by spending $1,100 on fuck-me boots. Then you flout traffic laws by using those boots to cross the street in the middle of the block (the boots were, after all, made for walking).

The fact that the president says 'nucular' instead of 'nuclear,' and comes up with terms like 'strategery' is not a good reason to get mixed up language-wise. In fact, it might be true that simply because he revels in these types of errors (intentionally?) it's not a good idea to get this sort of thing wrong too often.

I'm just sayin'.

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