The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, January 18, 2005  

Something Truly is Lacking

Do you know what the best thing is about visiting National Review’s diminutive weblog, The Corner? If you’re the snarky, lefty type -- like I am -- it’s that even the very first post one encounters offers plenty of fodder for blogging fun.

I visited the Home of the Dunce Caps just half an hour ago and was greeted initially by this post by National Review senior editor and purported literary scholar and critic, Rick Brookhiser:


Among other things, the Sarah Boxer piece on the Iraqi bloggers is notably jejeune [sic] -- college[-]newspaper[-]level stuff.

Note first that Brookhiser, while writing about Boxer, provides NR-Zero readers no courtesy link to her “offensive” piece, the same treatment Glenn Rehnolds (He persistently misspells my name; I return the favor.) has always accorded to Rittenhouse, and one I accordingly have adopted in return to Rehnolds and most of his pitiable acolytes.

Next, note the use of the “word” “jejeune.”

Interesting word, that: “jejeune.”

You don’t know it?

You shouldn’t.

You have no reason to know such “word.”

How would you pronounce it?

You can’t.

Why not?

Because there is no such “word,” not in English anyway, as “jejeune.”

I can only assume Brookhiser meant to write “jejune.”

Let’s have an eighth-grade vocabulary lesson, shall we? Brookhiser included. (Kathryn Jean Lopez Lopez may sit in on the class if she likes, but she must promise not to pass notes and swear not to doodle anything that includes the depiction of a heart nor a variation upon her name that includes the honorific "Mrs.")

The following comes courtesy of

1. Not interesting; dull: “and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases” (Anthony Trollope).
2. Lacking maturity; childish: surprised by their jejune responses to our problems.
3. Lacking in nutrition: a jejune diet.
[From Latin i i nus, meager, dry, fasting.]
je•june ly adv.
je•june ness n.

I can’t help but wonder whether Brookhiser believes the English language borrowed “jejeune,” whatever that is, from the French, and not from the Latin.

Wait, isn’t William F. Buckley a devoted impassionata of Latin?

Still more evidence of Buckley’s unreported passing, I suppose.

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