Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Divided by a common language

Our American cousins insist they are speaking English but it is barely the language we know. Too many of the words are used differently.

They restrict "weapons of mass destruction" to weapons such as chems or bios, which do not in fact cause any destruction at all, and deny its use for, say, thermobaric bombs, which cause, erm, mass destruction.

They use the word "presidential" to mean "sweaty, anxious, hesitant" and "evidence" to mean "baseless supposition".

So I should not be surprised to find some of my American acquaintances abusing the word "panache". Perhaps I should have been clearer what I meant by it. I did not mean "technically adept". Nor did I mean "overmuscled". Or "lumbering". All of which correctly describe baseballers.

Look, a guy throws it. Another guy takes a swing. Occasionally, some guy runs twenty yards to catch what in cricket we'd call a dolly (in other words, the kind of catch your mother could take).

The only way baseball would have panache would be if the Boston Redshirts, or whoever, turned out in cavalier uniforms with an actual panache on their headwear.

See, Thierry Henry plays with a shrug. He swaggers. He poses. He pirouettes, spins, runs like a gazelle from leonine defenders (okay, most Premiership defenders are like oxen rather than lions). Barry Bonds lumbers up to bat like a hairless mammoth, takes a wild swing at a ball he scarcely sees, and belts it, sans panache, into the stands. Then he waves to the crowd. The guy doesn't even do a dance or a nice routine with pretend gunfire (we'd settle for pretend carpet-bombing, given is nationality). I've seen spuds with more panache.

Let's have no more of this talk. A panache is a feather not a drumstick, d'Artagnan not Patton, Biggles not Bomber Harris. Get with the programme (two ms and an e and put some milk in that tea).