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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Machiavelli
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0712  Friday, 8 March 2002

From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Mar 2002 07:45:42 -0600
Subject: 13.0677 Re: Machiavelli
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0677 Re: Machiavelli

Martin Steward writes:

> "M'self, I would say that the meaning of 'machiavellian' is whatever
> your readers think of when you write it, even if that's wrong", writes
> Don Bloom.
>
> Sounds fishy to me.

Why fishy? It seems fundamental. We see it all the time on the list,
both in what we write to each other and in what we understand out of WS.
Writers write and readers understand, to put it as simply as possible.
If Reader A misunderstands what you write, that may be your fault or it
may be his. But if 95 per cent of your readers misunderstand you, that
is definitely your own fault.

Technically, "machiavellian" should only be used as an adjective
accurately summarizing the actual views of Machiavelli. Practically, it
long ago became a word meaning a person who was devious, deceitful and
ruthless because that is what people understood it to mean, and still
do. You may kick against the pricks if you like, but it won't get you
much except a sore foot.

(Or is their some meaning to "fishy" that I'm not picking up on?)

Cheers,
don

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