Middle English Dictionary Posted on Saturday, April 07, Filed under Dictionaries The Middle English Dictionary is an authoritative work on Middle English, covering the lexicon and usage of English from after the Norman Conquest to the beginning of the printing press to
This post is less something I will defend to the death and more a form of self-therapy. On each tick, a cell tries to be the same color that the cell above it was last tick. On each tick, a cell tries NOT to be the same color that the cell below it was last tick. If they ever conflict, Rule 1 takes precedence over Rule 2.
If none of these rules apply, a cell stays as it is. The overall effect is sort of like a barber pole. Consider a group of people separated by some ranked attribute.
There are four classes: Everyone wants to look like they are a member of a higher class than they actually are. But everyone also wants to avoid getting mistaken for a member of a poorer class.
So for example, the middle-class wants to look upper-class, but also wants to make sure no one accidentally mistakes them for lower-class.
No one has any hopes of getting mistaken for a class two levels higher than their own: Likewise, a member of the upper-class may worry about being mistaken for middle-class, but there is no way they will ever get mistaken for lower-class, let alone underclass. So suppose we start off with a country in which everyone wears identical white togas.
This idea goes over well, and the upper class starts wearing black. They want to pass for upper-class, and they expect to be able to pull it off, so they start wearing black too. After two years, the lower-class notices the middle-class is mostly wearing black now, and they start wearing black to pass as middle-class.
But the upper-class is very upset, because their gambit of wearing black to differentiate themselves from the middle-class has failed — both uppers and middles now wear identical black togas.
So they conceive an ingenious plan to switch back to white togas. Now the upper-class and underclass wear white, and the middle and lower classes wear black.
And surely in our real world, where the upper-class has no way of distributing secret messages to every single cool person, this would be even harder.
There are some technical solutions to the problem. Upper class people are richer, and so can afford to about-face very quickly and buy an entirely new wardrobe. The richest, trendiest person around wears something new, and either she is so hip that her friends immediately embrace it as a new trend, or she gets laughed at for going out in black when everyone knows all the cool people wear white.
Her friends are either sufficiently hip that they then adopt the new trend and help it grow, or so unsure of themselves that they decide to stick with something safe, or so un-hip that when they adopt the new trend everyone laughs at them for being so clueless they think they can pull off being one of the cool people.
That would be crass.
So you have to understand the spirit of the fashion. In other words, new trends carry social risk, and only people sufficiently clued-in and trendy can be sure the benefits outweigh the risks. But as the trend catches on, it becomes less risky, until eventually you see your Aunt Gladys wearing it because she saw something about it in a supermarket tabloid, and then all the hip people have to find a new trend.
We saw this happen naturally on the 5th tick of the four-cell world, but it might be a more stable configuration than that model suggests. If the rich deliberately dress like the poor, then the middle-class have nowhere to go — if they try to ape the rich, they will probably just end up looking poor instead.
It is only the rich, who are at no risk of ever being mistaken for the poor, who can pull this off. Why do I like this model? It explains a lot of otherwise mysterious things about fashion.
Why does fashion change so darned often?5. CGOS Style – Columbia Guide to Online Style. A specialized style guide for citing and creating electronic sources. It is a a special manual that addresses the complications and peculiarities associated with online publishing and offers the rules of online citation to students, researchers and the wide public.
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