The Evasion-English Dictionary

Maggie Balistreri, Author
Maggie Balistreri, Author Melville House Publishing $12.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-9718659-7-6
Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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Cultural criticism takes the form of a dictionary in this slender, amusing volume. Balistreri has become aware--and wants to make us all aware--of the little linguistic games we play in order to""duck the truth,"" the words we use not to reveal our meaning but to mask it. Saying""I feel unproductive,"" she notes, is more acceptable to ourselves than plainly stating,""I am unproductive."" Or how about""I hate to say it but..."" (as in""I hate to say she's fat..."")? Balistreri unearths the underlying meaning:""I can't believe I'm saying this; it's so uncharacteristic of me."" Balistreri, who runs the language and poetry webzine CafeMo.com, is a subtle interpreter of linguistic evasions and rhetorical tics. Read this, and you may think twice the next time you're tempted to say""like"" (translation:""think, brain, think!"").
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