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Dollar Scholar

Republicans certainly have the right to criticize Democrats for not forming an independent redistricting commission when they were in charge. And that is what Rep. Nelson Dollar did this morning in the News & Observer. Still, Rep. Joe Hackney is correct to point out that a constitutional amendment is not necessary to establish an independent commission.

But what I found most interesting about Rep. Dollar’s letter was its opening line. He begins:

One definition of mendacity is highly fictionalized memories in which the facts are few and mendacities many. Such is the plea from former Speaker of the House Joe Hackney (“Plenty of time,” Dec. 31 People’s Forum letter).

You might have noticed that this is not, in fact, a definition of mendacity. In attempting to find where Rep. Dollar found this non-definition I looked at Merriam Webster online. It turns out Rep. Dollar also looked at this trusty resource. But instead of looking up at the definitions part of the entry, he apparently scrolled down to examples of the word in a sentence.

Here’s the first example of “mendacity” as used in a sentence:

Highly fictionalized “memoirs” in which the facts were few and the mendacities many.

The definition of mendacity is “lie”, which does not describe Rep. Hackney’s letter. Now that I’ve played William Safire for the day, I will give Rep. Dollar some credit for shoehorning the word mendacity five times into a three paragraph letter.

One Comment

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