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In my humble Amis…

By Tom Chatfield  

Martin Amis is angry. And concerned. And disappointed. You can tell because his latest essay, published in The Times today, begins with a quite fantastical excursion into etymological territory: a 700-word meditation on the written formulation “9/11” which he concludes with the pronouncement that

…my principal objection to the numbers [“9/11”] is that they are numbers. The solecism, that is to say, is not grammatical but moral-aesthetic—an offence against decorum; and decorum means “seemliness”, which comes from soemr, “fitting”, and soema, “to honour”. 9/11, 7/7: who or what decided that particular acts of slaughter, particular whirlwinds of plasma and body…

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