Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THINGS THAT REALLY BUG ME

I was just watching a bit of a godawful old shlock sci fi movie called "It Came From Beneath The Sea" [never mind], and several of the characters said something that really gets to me.  A little background is called for.  In August, 1957, after completing Basic Training, I was sent to Fort Devens, outside Boston, for training in "communications."  In those days, this consisted of learning to climb a telephone pole or a tree with ankle gaffs and mastering the fundamental rules of radio communication.  We used a little radio called a PRC-10 [universally referred to, I am afraid, as a "prick ten"] which was connected by a roll of wire to the next unit down the way [a sophisticated version of two dixie cups and some string.]

Now, on these old radios. only one person could talk at a time.  To talk, you pressed down a button.  When that button was down, you could send but you could not receive.  To indicate when you were finished talking and were taking your finger off the button so that the person at the other end of the wire could talk, you said "over."  You kept going back and forth saying "over" until one of you was all done.  That person, instead of saying "over" would say "out," meaning "This conversation is ended and I am turning off my radio."

For the past fifty-five years, I have been grinding my teeth every time some idiot in a movie says "over and out," which is, as we used to say, a contradiction in terms.  It is a small thing, but since it is just about the only thing I learned during my six months in the Army [except for how to make a bed with hospital corners] it is important to me.

Probably none of you is a movie actor [although you never know who is reading your blog], but if you are and you are handed a script in which you are called on to say "over and out," do me a favor and gently correct the screen writer or director, will you?

4 comments:

Daniel MacDonald said...

But couldn't it be correct if you were simply making a command on the radio and didn't want any feedback? Then you would say "over" since you were done giving the message, and "out" since you were turning off your radio and would not hear any more feedback.

I realize the general point about it not being use correctly in most cases, but the above case seems a perfectly valid use of it, albeit for someone who is quite rude/doesn't have any time on their hands.

imcdpe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imcdpe said...

"If you are and you are handed a script in which you are called on to say "over and out," do me a favor and gently correct the screen writer or director"

Roger Wilco.

High Arka said...

Professor, you never responded to the points you requested in Lesser Deconstruction. Did you decide to give up, or are you just busy with old science fiction movies?