Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A brutalist's dictionary

"Peter, should this be 'inhumane' with an 'e' here, or should it be 'inhuman' without the 'e'?"

"'Inhuman', without the 'e'."

"What's the difference?"

"Well, 'inhumane' means 'not humane'—cruel or monstrous in a moral way. 'Inhuman' means 'not human'—animal-like or monstrous like an actual monster. If I were to stab you in the gut with my pen right now, I would be inhumane. But if I were to turn into a werewolf and eat you, I would be inhuman."

"I see. Thank you." [slinks off]


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