Favorite

“Klitschko improved to 48-3 with his 43rd knockout in the mandatory defense, while Austin fell to 24-4 with four draws and 16 knockouts. Neither Austin nor [boxing promoter Don] King, both of whom had called Klitschko heartless before the bout, showed up at the postfight press conference.”

If boxer Ray Austin and his promoter, Don King, called Austin’s opponent “heartless” before the fight, they probably weren’t using the word the way it’s most commonly used, to mean “harsh, cruel.” That wouldn’t be considered an insult by a prizefighter, at least not while he was in the ring. At home, maybe.

Professional boxers are expected to behave harshly and cruelly, to strike their opponents as often and as hard as they can until the other man goes down. Boxers who do this become champions and are described admiringly as possessing “the killer instinct.”

I suspect that Austin and King applied “heartless” to Austin as a synonym for “gutless” — that is, “cowardly, unwilling to stand up and fight like a man.” Both heart and guts are considered organs of courage, so the Austin-King usage is understandable if uncommon. Random House says that using heartless in this sense is “archaic”:

“Commonly used in an earlier time but rare in present-day usage except to suggest the earlier time, as in religious rituals or historical novels.”

If a fighter is big enough and tough enough he can speak as archaically as he likes, I imagine. Remember when Muhammad Ali told Sonny Liston “Methinks thou hast retreated and stepped in it, forsooth”? Nobody accused him of archaism.

“Employees failed to report an allegation of abuse by a 14-year-old mentally ill resident … ‘It’s hard to say [the children] are safe when you continue to see these incidences occurring.’ ”

I think he means “incidents.” An incident is an occurrence or event. Incidence is the rate or range of occurrence of something, as “The incidence of missed free throws by our players is most distressing.”

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • Corporate welfare is a failure. So why does it keep increasing?

    Huge study says corporate welfare is inefficient and unproductive. But politicians keep doing it. Wonder why.
    • Aug 21, 2017
  • Police identify three dead in Birchwood

    Police have now released some details about the apparent slaying Sunday of two children and suicide of the man who killed them on Birchwood Drive in West Little Rock. Court recordx indicate the suspect had a history of domestic violence.
    • Aug 21, 2017
  • University of Texas removes Confederate statues

    Confederate statuary was removed overnight from a prominent spot on the University of Texas campus because they symbolize white supremacy and neo-Nazism, the university president said.
    • Aug 21, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.
  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: On Charlottesville

    • I've allowed myself "to educated". Cheap shot, I'll admit; but, proofreading might be a skill…

    • on August 19, 2017
  • Re: Charter secret

    • Max uses the words irony, logic etc. All the arguments and reasons he uses to…

    • on August 19, 2017
  • Re: On Charlottesville

    • Then allow your self to educated. Living as white, is not condescending a lot of…

    • on August 18, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation