How About Lynchmob?

What Should We Call the Sixth of January?

Jill Lapore, The New Yorker





 

obloquious (n.): mid-15th C., obloquie, “evil speaking, slander, calumny, derogatory remarks,” from Medieval Latin obloquium “speaking against, contradiction,” from Latin obloqui “to speak against, contradict,” from ob “against” (see ob-) + loqui “to speak,” from Proto-Indo-European root *tolkw– “to speak.” (etymonline)

sedition (n.) From the mid-14th C., “rebellion, uprising, revolt, concerted attempt to overthrow civil authority; violent strife between factions, civil or religious disorder, riot; rebelliousness against authority,” from Old French sedicion (14th C., Modern French sédition) and directly from Latin seditionem (nominative seditio) “civil disorder, dissension, strife; rebellion, mutiny,” literally “a going apart, separation,” from se- “apart” (see secret (n.)) + itio “a going,” from ire “to go” (from Proto-Indo-European root *ei- “to go”).

Meaning “conduct or language inciting to rebellion against a lawful government” is from 1838. An Old English word for it was folcslite. Less serious than treason, as wanting an overt act, “But it is not essential to the offense of sedition that it threaten the very existence of the state or its authority in its entire extent” [Century Dictionary]. (etymonline)

peenge (v.): to whine, fret and complain of cold and hunger, to pretend poverty. (Says You!, episode 219). From the Oxford/Lexico site: To whine, complain in a whining voice; to mope, fret.

traitor (n.) c. 1200, “one who betrays a trust or duty,” from Old French traitor, traitre “traitor, villain, deceiver” (11th C., Modern French traître), from Latin traditor “betrayer,” literally “one who delivers,” agent noun from stem of tradere “deliver, hand over,” from trans- “over” (see trans-) + dare “to give” (from PIE root *do- “to give”). Originally usually with a suggestion of Judas Iscariot; especially of one false to his allegiance to a sovereign, government, or cause from late 15th C. Compare treason, tradition. (etymonline)

caterwaul (n.): “disagreeable howling or screeching,” like that of a cat in heat, late 14th C., caterwrawen, perhaps from Low German katerwaulen “cry like a cat,” or formed in English from cater, from Middle Dutch cater “tomcat” + Middle English waul “to yowl,” apparently from Old English *wrag, *wrah “angry,” of uncertain origin but somehow imitative. Related: Caterwauled; caterwauling. As a noun from 1708. (etymonline)

whinge(n.): “to complain peevishly,” British, informal or dialectal, ultimately from the northern form of Old English hwinsian, from Proto-Germanic *hwinison (source also of Old High German winison, German winseln), from root of Old English hwinan “to whine” (see whine (v.)). Related: Whinged; whinging. (etymonline)

lynch (v.): 1835, “inflict severe (but not deliberately fatal) bodily punishment (on someone) without legal sanction,” from earlier Lynch law (1811), in reference to such activity, which was likely named after William Lynch (1742-1820) of Pittsylvania, Virginia, who c. 1780, led a vigilance committee to keep order there during the Revolution. Other sources trace the name to Charles Lynch (1736-1796) a Virginia magistrate who fined and imprisoned Tories in his district, c. 1782, but the connection to him is less likely. The surname is perhaps from Irish Loingseach “sailor.”

It implies lawless concert or action among a number of members of the community, to supply the want of criminal justice or to anticipate its delays, or to inflict a penalty demanded by public opinion, though in defiance of the laws. [Century Dictionary, 1895]

Originally any sort of summary justice, done without authority of law, for a crime or public offense; it especially referred to flogging or tarring-and-feathering. At first the act was associated with frontier regions (as in the above citation), though from c. 1835 to the U.S. Civil War it also often was directed against abolitionists. The narrowing of the meaning to “extra-legal execution by hanging” is evident by the 1880s, and after c. 1893 lynching mostly meant killings of blacks by white mobs (especially in retaliation for alleged sexual assaults of white women). This shift in use seems due in part to the work of African-American journalist and activist Ida B. Wells. “Lynch mob” is attested from 1838. Compare earlier Lydford law, from a place in Dartmoor, England, “where was held a Stannaries Court of summary jurisdiction” [Weekley], hence:

Lydford law: is to hang men first, and indite them afterwards. [Thomas Blount, “Glossographia,” 1656]

Also in a similar sense was Jedburgh justice (1706) and, as a verb, to Dewitt (1680s), a reference to two Dutch statesmen of that name, opponents of William of Orange, murdered by a mob in 1672. Related: Lynched; lynching. The city of Lynchburg, Virginia, dates to the 1750s when John Lynch, brother to Charles but a peaceable Quaker, had a ferry landing on the James River there. (etymonline)

mob (n.): From the 1680s, “disorderly part of the population, rabble, common mass, the multitude, especially when rude or disorderly; a riotous assemblage,” slang shortening of mobile, mobility “common people, populace, rabble” (1670s, probably with a conscious play on nobility), from Latin mobile vulgus “fickle common people” (the Latin phrase is attested c. 1600 in English), from mobile, neuter of mobilis “fickle, movable, mobile” (see mobile (adj.)).

Mob is a very strong word for a tumultuous or even riotous assembly, moved to or toward lawlessness by discontent or some similar exciting cause. Rabble is a contemptuous word for the very lowest classes, considered as confused or without sufficient strength or unity of feeling to make them especially dangerous. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

Also used of a promiscuous aggregation of people in any rank of life (1680s), and in Australia and New Zealand used without disparagement for “a crowd.” Meaning “gang of criminals working together” is from 1839, originally of thieves or pick-pockets; the American English sense of “organized crime in general” is from 1927.

The Mob was not a synonym for the Mafia. It was an alliance of Jews, Italians, and a few Irishmen, some of them brilliant, who organized the supply, and often the production, of liquor during the thirteen years, ten months, and nineteen days of Prohibition. … Their alliance — sometimes called the Combination but never the Mafia — was part of the urgent process of Americanizing crime. [Pete Hamill, “Why Sinatra Matters,” 1998]

Mob scene “crowded place” is by 1922, from earlier use in reference to movies and theatrical productions; mob-rule “ochlocracy” is by 1806.

ochlocracy (n.): “government by the rabble,” 1580s, from French ochlocratie (1560s), from Greek okhlokratia (Polybius) “mob rule,” the lowest grade of democracy, from kratos “rule, power, strength” (see -cracy) + okhlos “(orderless) crowd, multitude, throng; disturbance, annoyance,” which is probably literally “moving mass,” from PIE *wogh-lo-, suffixed form of root *wegh– “to go, move.”  “Several possibilities exist for the semantic development: e.g. an agent noun *’driving, carrying, moving’, or an instrument noun *’driver, carrier, mover’. … An original meaning ‘drive’ could easily develop into both ‘stirred mass, mob’ and ‘spiritual excitement, unrest'” [Beekes]. For sense development, compare mob (n.). Related: Ochlocrat, ochlocratic; ochlocratical. Greek also had okhlagogos “mob-leader, ochlagogue.”

Our Guardian Angel

There are three reasons for this most personal of posts:

This woman gave birth to me nearly 63 years ago. She loved words, and word play. She encouraged me to look up a word I didn’t know. She played word games with us on long car trips. She was always working on a crossword, and we’d always find scraps of paper around the house on which she was trying to create as many words as possible out of one, longer word. Oddly, for all of her love of words, she wasn’t a big reader. But she passed on this love of language to her children. Due to her, her children are big readers.

Eventually, I would find myself living in Seattle and in need of a part-time job and I’d wander into a small bookshop that was about to open in the summer of 1990. I’d work there for the next 27 years and own it for the last 18. When things got tight, when it was hard to meet the rent – especially in the last few years – she’d be my loan officer, even though we both knew it was a gift, not a loan. She loved that I had a bookshop and dearly wanted it to succeed. To a great extent, she was the reason it lasted as long as it did. If nothing else, she’d listed to my tales of woe about the state of the shop. When we closed it, she was a heartbroken as anyone.

Lastly, though it always seemed growing up that everyone knew her, that wasn’t true. I never made a public acknowledgement about her financial aid to the shop. That just wasn’t how we did things. It was between her and me – but you see it really wasn’t. It was between her and everyone who loved the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. So I wanted to acknowledge it publicly, thank her publicly for all that she did for the shop, for the extra years her help gave us all.

She was always my guardian angel, and she was the shop’s guardian angel.

She’s an angel of the first degree.

Dottie Thomas Dickey ~ April 14, 1927 – December 8, 2020

November 2020

Serious Stuff

Leaked: Confidential Amazon memo reveals new software to track unions

Indie bookstores launch anti-Amazon ‘Boxed Out’ campaign

The next economic crisis: Empty retail space

MI5 boss says Russian and Chinese threats to UK ‘growing in severity’

Russia planned cyber-attack on Tokyo Olympics, says UK

Powerful New Video From Bruce Springsteen And Don Winslow Hits Trump In Key State

Best-selling crime writer Don Winslow on why he turned his sights on a new ‘criminal’ – Donald Trump

The gangster vanishes: twist in hunt for world’s largest haul of stolen art

The So-Called ‘Kidnapping Club’ Featured Cops Selling Free Black New Yorkers Into Slavery

Why Coroners Often Blame Police Killings on a Made-Up Medical Condition

How The 1969 Murders of a Labor Leader and His Family Changed Coal Country Forever

The True Story of Min Matheson, the Labor Leader Who Fought the Mob at the Polls

This Is How The FBI Says A Network Of ‘Boogaloo’ Boys Sparked Violence And Death

Coffins unearthed as the search for victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre continues

Violent criminal groups are eroding Mexico’s authority and claiming more territory

Words of the Month

dread (v.): From the late 12th C., “to fear very much, be in shrinking apprehension or expectation of,” a shortening of Old English adrædan, contraction of ondrædan “counsel or advise against,” also “to dread, fear, be afraid,” from ond-, and- “against” (the same first element in answer, from PIE root *ant-) + rædan “to advise” (from PIE root *re- “to reason, count”). Cognate of Old Saxon andradon, Old High German intraten. Related: Dreaded; dreading.

As a noun from c. 1200, “great fear or apprehension; cause or object of apprehension.” As a past-participle adjective (from the former strong past participle), “dreaded, frightful,” c.1400; later “held in awe” (early 15c.). [thanks to etymonline]

Strange Stuff

From cut-out confessions to cheese pages: browse the world’s strangest books

Unseen spoof by Raymond Chandler shows writer’s ‘human side’

Chandler and the Fox: The Mid-Century Correspondence Between Raymond Chandler and James M. Fox

The Strange Poetry of a Notorious Gangster’s Last Words

The 12 Greatest, Strangest, Most Transfixing Dance Scenes in the History of Crime Movies

The Strange History of Mickey Spillane and New Zealand’s “Jukebox Killer”

Italian police seize 4,000 bottles of counterfeit ‘super Tuscan’ wine

I Didn’t Set Out to Write a Book About the Argentine Scrabble Mafia But That’s What I’ve Done

Why Americans Fall for Grifters

Jeffery Deaver: ‘I can always find solace in Middle-earth and Tolkien’s imagination’

Local Stuff

Spokane author Jess Walter talks about his new novel ‘The Cold Millions,’ set in his hometown

Jess Walter is getting a ton of national critical praise for his new book. The Washington Post reviewed it as “one of the most captivating novels of the year” and The New Yorker called it a “masterful novel“. Congratulations to Jess!

Seattle writer receives $50,000 grant as one of 20 Disability Futures Fellows

A Bainbridge Island children’s book author bought Liberty Bay Books. One month later, the pandemic hit

Words of the Month

mumpsinus (n): One who stubbornly adheres to old ways in spite of clear evidence that they are wrong (Says You! # 223)

Awards

Here are the finalists for the 2020 National Book Awards

Louise Glück: where to start with an extraordinary Nobel winner

Here’s the shortlist for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction.

Here’s the shortlist for the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Here’s the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

Book Stuff

The latest Covid trend is binge-reading. Independent bookstores are happy to oblige with special offers, free delivery and more.

Mystery Writer Jacques Futrelle Died Onboard the Titanic, but His Greatest Detective Creation Lives On

Bestselling author Tana French talks about what makes a good mystery writer and her latest novel

How Elmore Leonard Really Wrote His Novels—According to His Characters

A Shakespeare First Folio sold this week for $10 million.

The Westing Game may be a murder mystery—but it’s also a ghost story.

The Agatha Christie Centennial: 100 Years of The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Crime novelists dish on writing about cops in a moment of reckoning

How bookstores are weathering the pandemic

The Unlikely Detectives: Unlicensed, Unqualified, and Fully Invested

Edgar Allan Poe and and the Rise of the Modern City: “The Man of the Crowd” was arguably Edgar Allan Poe’s first detective story. It’s also one of his strangest.

Other Forms of Entertainment

In the Nixon Years, Conspiracy Thrillers Reflected Our Anxious Times. Where Are They Now?

Errol Morris Responds to the “Wilderness of Error” Finale

In 1983, Roger Moore and Sean Connery Squared Off in ‘The Battle of the Bonds’

Why British Police Shows Are Better: When you take away guns and shootings, you have more time to explore grief, guilt, and the psychological complexity of crime.

With Iron Man Behind Him, Robert Downey Jr. Plans MCU-Like Universe for ‘Sherlock Holmes’

New ‘Dexter’ Limited Series Headed to Showtime in Fall 2021

7 Great Heist Novels, Recommended By An Art Dealer

The Con: Portraits of Grifters and Scam Artists in Book, Film, and Real Life

How Edward Hopper’s Stony Blonde Became a Noir Icon

How ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Picked the Cases for Its Second Season

10 Political True Crime Podcasts to Listen to this Election Season

Edward Gorey designed the sets for the 1970s Broadway run of Dracula

The Burnt Orange Heresy review – Mick Jagger adds dash of malice to arty thriller

Words of the Month

oubliette (n): A “secret dungeon reached only via trapdoor and with an opening only at the top for admission of air,” 1819 (Scott), from French oubliette (14th C.), from Middle French oublier “to forget, show negligence,” Old French oblier, oblider, from Vulgar Latin *oblitare, from Latin oblitus, past participle of oblivisci “to forget” (see oblivion). Used for persons condemned to perpetual imprisonment or to perish secretly. (thanks to etymonline and John Connolly)

RIP

October 11: Margaret Nolan – actor, artist and Goldfinger title sequence star – dies aged 76

October 16 : Rhonda Fleming, femme fatale from Hollywood’s golden age, dies at 97

October 16: Tom Maschler, Booker prize founder and publisher of some of the greats of 20th-century fiction, dies at 87

October 30: Judith Hennes, long-time customer and friend of the shop, died

October 31: Sean Connery, James Bond actor, dies aged 90

Links of Interest

September 30: The Modern Detective: Inside the Secret World of Private Investigators

October 1: Nazi shipwreck found off Poland may solve Amber Room mystery

October 1: Happiness, a Mystery by Sophie Hannah review – solving the most profound puzzle

October 7: Stolen Mao scroll worth £230m was cut in two by £50 buyer, police say

October 14: Snapshots in the Life of a Criminal Data Analyst

October 15 : Mario Puzo at 100 – ‘The Godfather’ author never met a real gangster, but his mafia melodrama remains timeless

October 18: The Delightful Shock of Seeing the ‘Downton Abbey’-Famous Library

October 18: The secret world of diary hunters

October 22: The Network: How a Secretive Phone Company Helped the Crime World Go Dark

October 25: Chilling find shows how Henry VIII planned every detail of Boleyn beheading

October 25: Do not hike alone’: For 21 months, the Trailside Killer terrorized Bay Area’s outdoors

October 26: Killer High: Exploring the Phenomenon of LSD-Fuelled Murder

October 29: How Sierra Was Captured, Then Killed, by a Massive Accounting Fraud

Words of the Month

mesel (adj.): “leprous” (adj.); “a leper” (n.); both c. 1300, from Old French mesel “wretched, leprous; a wretch,” from Latin misellus “wretched, unfortunate,” as a noun, “a wretch,” in Medieval Latin, “a leper,” diminutive of miser “wretched, unfortunate, miserable” (see miser). A Latin diminutive form without diminutive force. Also from Latin misellus are Old Italian misello “sick, leprous,” Catalan mesell “sick.” The English word is archaic or obsolete since the 1500s, replaced by leper, leprous, but its lexical DNA survives, apparently, as a contamination of measles. (thanks to etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Fran

Books and physics

In high school, I got a D— in physics, and the only reason I got so good a grade was that my physics teacher had been really good friends with my late cousin. Ms. Lopez made me promise I’d never take physics again if she gave me that grade, and I happily agreed.

She’d be massively unsurprised at my current dilemma.

We just moved to a new place. I have 60 boxes of books, which should surprise exactly no one, especially those of you who know me. I have not only signed and collectible copies of books, but manuscripts and Advance Reader Copies and ratty paperbacks that I adore.

I also have three – yes, three – bookcases. And even they don’t have enough shelves on them; I have to add at least one more per bookcase.

Now, I’ll grant you that the lady from whom we bought the house left another one, and I’m using it, but even then, well, it’s not going to be enough. Not by a long shot.

It’s a challenge, but I’m up to it. I think. It’s making my wife a little crazed, but she knew this about me when she married me, it’s going to be fine.

Eventually.

All of this is in order to explain why I don’t have a review for you this month. Also why I got a D— in physics back in high school.

JB

I guess I’m not in an objective mindset to be able to write up the last two books I read and do justice to them. The new John Connolly, The Dirty South, is sort of a prequel, taking place after his family was wiped out but before he caught The Traveler. Great idea, great characters, great story and… [a shrug of the shoulders….] The new Craig Johnson, Next to Last Stand, also gets a shrug – interesting germ for a story, characters I adore, etc, but…. guess I’m getting tired of Longmire’s indecision about running for office again. I understand that while the indecision has been going on for years for us readers and for only a few months for the characters, I’m tired of it. It’s much like the story lines in the TV series that didn’t grab me. You’re stuck with it. Still, I love a good art mystery, so I’d recommend you read this piece by Craig about where the idea for the story came from: The Strange Life and Mysterious Disappearance of a Very American Painting. Still, the questions remains” can there be a Longmire series after or when Walt retires?

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

And So It Goes…

GERMANY KURT VONNEGUT

Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to the people of 2088 also applies to the people of 2020.

“This week, I stumbled upon some very good advice Kurt Vonnegut set out, in 1988, for the citizens of the world of 2088. Sure, it was part of a Volkswagen ad campaign for TIME, but it still counts as salient advice from one of our great literary minds—and though it was supposed to be for people living 100 years after he wrote it, almost all of it applies to those of us trapped in 2020 as well. (And if not, well, at the very least, I got a laugh out of “bag ladies and bag gentlemen.”) Here’s what Kurt thinks we should be doing to save ourselves:”

Some Book Stories for the End of July

~ from Lithub ~

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The First Black-Owned Bookstore and the Fight for Freedom. Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one.

 

Public libraries have been vital in times of crisis – from conflict to Covid-19

 

zhongshugeTake a look at the dreamy book tunnels in this beautiful Beijing bookstore.

 

Mary Trump’s book sold almost a million copies by the end of its publication day.

 

rainbowWhy do people on the internet care so much about how other people organize their books?

Picture1

Jasper Fforde on rabbits, racism and writing fiction ‘to slightly improve a flawed world’

New from Greg Rucka!

From the pen of our friend Greg RuckaMV5BZTY5YTk0ZDMtODg0Zi00OGM4LTgxMTQtODAzODg2ZjE2MmM1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_

Staring Charlize Theron –

“The movie positions its team of almost sorta immortals (they can die eventually, but they tend to heal quickly from even the most surely fatal of injuries) as both avenging angels roaming the world doing justice and ancient sad sacks grown tired with their mission. Well, at least Charlize Theron’s team leader Andy (short for Andromache of Scythia) is a bit over it all, sick of the world’s ceaseless parade of horrors, one that all her butt-kicking over the millennia has done little if anything to stanch.”

 

 

Netflix’s The Old Guard Often Feels Brand-New

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“Credit to director Gina Prince-Bythewood for teasing that out, and to screenwriter Greg Rucka, adapting his own graphic novel. The Old Guard is a naked attempt to kick off a franchise, but I wasn’t bothered by all those obvious table-setting mechanics because what they’re establishing is so tantalizing.”

 

 

 

 

 

~ Trailers for the Show ~

Other writings about the graphic novel and the movie

Read this before you watch The Old Guard

The Old Guard is an action blockbuster with historical tragedy in its bones



NETFLIX – JULY 10




In Preparation of the new “Perry Mason”

“PERRY MASON” debuts on HBO Sunday, June 21st. Check your schedule for times!

“Set in 1932 Los Angeles, the series focuses on the origin story of famed defense lawyer Perry Mason, based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels. Living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator, Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage.”

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Perry Mason and the Case of the Wildly Successful, Perpetually Restless Author

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How to Write Legal Thrillers That Won’t Drive Lawyers Crazy with Mistakes and Inventions

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An original ‘Juneteenth’ order found in the National Archives

From The Washington Post, by  Michael E. Ruane 

June 18, 2020

“The National Archives on Thursday located what appears to be an original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas they were free.

 

The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free,’ ” the order reads.

“This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

The order sparked jubilation among African Americans in Texas and resulted in generations of celebration. It rings poignant today, as in recent weeks outpourings of anger against police brutality and racism have filled America’s streets.

 

It is a modest, two-paragraph entry in the book labeled “Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston … General Orders No. 3.” But it affected the lives of about 250,000 enslaved people.”

 

for the full article, and pictures of the order, see the link above.