The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Osballs

Wednesday, 29th April 2015

The cover of next week’s Radio Times claims it’s an ‘ELECTION SPECIAL’, yet the image below is of prime-time BBC 1 drama The C-Word, about a journalist with breast cancer. I’m not sure it’s possible to publish a special edition on a subject in earnest, whilst implying that you think it’s too boring a subject for the cover design.

Unless The C-Word is a coded reference to what Russell Brand called Ed Balls.


Monday, 26th January 2015

The OED’s definition of Derrida’s notion of différance is, ‘The impossibility or indefinite deferral of any ultimate or metaphysical signification, on account of the constantly changing and proliferating relationships between the linguistic signs in any sentence or utterance’. Dictionary definitions are in fact antithetical to the idea of différance: a standard, textbook way of explaining the theory is to point out that a dictionary can never make meaning de-finite, because each definition comprises yet more words to look up. (It’s the opposite of Wikipedia’s ‘Getting to Philosophy’ – or is it the same?) So the OED definition of différance takes one to those of impossibility, metaphysical, relationship, etc.

An exception to this is the OED’s definition of Butskellism, which I rewrote last week for my own of Osballs. Butskellism, the definition reads, is ‘The economic policy of Butler, regarded as largely undifferentiable from that of his predecessor and Shadow Chancellor Gaitskell’. But I look up undifferentiable and there are ‘No dictionary entries found’. This is the only example I’ve seen of a non-technical term being employed in an OED definition despite being itself undefined.*

* Sunday, 3rd July 2016: other examples are scuffling-plough, used in the definition of wing-bar, and self-aggrandizing, used in that of smack talk.

Monday, 19th January 2015

Mr Osballs is already a well-known figure in dinner table conversations in both Westminster and Whitehall, and the time has come to introduce him to a wider audience.

Osballs, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈɒzbɔːlz/
Etymology: Blend of the names of George Gideon Oliver Osborne, Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer (2010–) and Edward Michael Balls, Labour Shadow Chancellor (2011–). Perh. influenced by balls v. and balls int.

Polit. The economic policy of Balls, regarded as largely undifferentiable from that of Osborne; advocacy of this policy. Also in extended use, esp. the austerity measures prescribed by both Labour and Conservative parties during the post-crisis period.

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