Tag Archives: #language

Hobson’s Choice

A number of people on social media — as well as in some newspaper columns — have called the U.S. election this year a “Hobson’s Choice.” It is not. A Hobson’s Choice is a take-it-or-leave-it scenario, not a situation where there are two unsavoury options. That would be “a dilemma.” I guess it could also be called a “Sophie’s Choice,” but I don’t like that expression for two reasons: 1) it brings up images of Nazis killing children, and 2) it makes me think of the book (and the movie) of the same name, both of which were tinged with anti-Semitism.

On a brighter note, here is a clip from the brilliant David Lean film, Hobson’s Choice, with Charles Laughton in the lead role. And yes,¬†the title character¬†is given a Hobson’s Choice at the end of the story.

Ghomeshi, Unfortunately

Had hoped to keep this site as Ghomeshi-free as possible, but I wanted to comment on the #webelievesurvivors hashtag. I really resent the use of the word “survivors” to describe the three women in this case. Even if everything they are saying is true, they weren’t in Auschwitz, or buried under rubble for seven days, or stricken with cancer. It is a little bit like the over-use of the word “brave.” Supermodels who don’t wear makeup are called brave, for example. To me, brave is hiding Anne Frank in your attic.