Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Now that the oak leaves are shrivelling in readiness to fall, I'm increasingly awash in the commentations of all the commentators commentating on this and that 'news' channel about what we in our world call reality. As I work my way upstream through all that commentatoriationistic verbiage I begin to wonder at the etymology of this very common term, 'commentators,' as they all commentate away, those myriad talking heads shimmering with electronic artifacts in the little electric box in the corner: one can educate, one can legislate, but can one commentate? why not, when 'commentator' is ok?

I'm sure the syntacticians in their dusty stacks have a heady explanation, but given the nature and history of the commentating profession, I tend to perceive that in this case there may be another etymological element tacitly involved, one that required the grafting of an additional root: the Latin term mendaci-, ‘given to lying, or false.’

Thus, one who commentates shades of falsehood in the manner of truth is a [commendacious] commentator, or is at least tainted with that brush, but the root concept has never been dignified with the status of a true verb. In other words, people just don't like to talk about it. The more I see and hear these heads talk, even being called upon to serve as presidential press secretaries, the more I can see why.

Commentators, commentating everywhere. Those Romans knew all about that stuff; didn't help them, either.


Joy Des Jardins said...

Hmmm...no comment!

Maya's Granny said...

Sounds like truthiness to me.

annie said...

Commendacious commentators...I like that.