Monday, August 10, 2009

The passage that disturbed the poor folk in Victoria Coach Station

"I could write an entire book on the letter X. An aerial view of the Egyptian pyraminds is an x inside of a square. The word pyramid comes from pryo (fire) and mid (in the middle). Within the pyramid two sticks (crossed feverishly in an X shape) create a spark and hence a fire upon which a human sacrifice was made." - Hazardous Materials P. 996

Now I ask you, what in the world does this passage actually mean? It is notorious that the Egyptian pyramids were not temples for human sacrifice, but gigantic cenotaphs for the Pharaohs. She is either following some nonsensical New Age text here, outdated pseudo-scholarship, insane conspiratorial gibberings, or just confusing the Egyptian and Central American pyramids, stuctures that look similar but are for quite different purposes. She has also been misled by the etymological fallacy, a fallacy she elsewhere shows some understanding of, as she lambasts the lexicons that are her target for their use of doubtful derivations. Put simply, the Etymological Fallacy is that the meaning of a word is taken from its etymology, its derivation, not its usage. In fact the meaning of a word is taken from its usage in context. Thus, even if this etmology of 'Pyramid' is valid, it does not define the meaning of the word 'pyramid' let alone describe the pyramids of Egypt.
In fact there is no agreement on the etymology of 'Pyramid', some saying that it is a latinization of a Greek rendering of the Egyptian 'Pimar', a Pyramid (which leaves us back where we started), and no source I have located gives her etymology. On P. 531 she criticizes Vincent of Vincent's Word Studies, saying "The derivation is not absolute, merely presumed," yet here she is definite in a most doubtful derivation! On P. 396 she cites another authors declaration that there is some "fanciful etymology" in Trench. And in Ripinger too!Physician, heal thyself!
The first sentence, "I could write a whole book on the letter X," provoked the immediate reaction 'No! Anything but that!'
The removal of passages like this side-splitting gem of nonsense would make Hazardous Materials far shorter, but far less entertaining!
More to come, God willing.

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