Good old English. What a language. What an inheritance.

Consider the prefix un-, which undoes (ahem) the meaning of the noun, adjective, or verb that follows it.

We got it from Latin, but a similar prefix is common to pretty much all languages of the Indo-European family; in Sanskrit, for example, it's a- (as in a-himsa, “un-violence”).

One of the things that I love about un- is that, while it negates what comes after, the resulting word does not, however, constitute an opposite. The prefix thus lends itself to non-binary thinking, a lesson which the West cannot learn too quickly. In New Crete, Robert Graves's fictional Goddess-worshiping utopia of the future, where love is the central cultural value (“My law is love unto all beings”), the primary sin is not hatred, but unlove.

I once heard a friend describe him and his ex as “unfriends.” That's good. Not enemies, but two people whose relationship consists of not having a relationship. That's a pretty articulate distinction to be able to make in just one word.

Or consider “unbeautiful.” What is unbeautiful is not ugly, but neither is it just plain “plain.” What is plain, is; what is unbeautiful, isn't. Another subtle distinction.

I love un-'s readiness to play. One could even call it egalitarian. You don't have to be a philologist or a linguist to spontaneously create new un-words. The man, or woman, in the street does it all the time.

Case in point: I have no great interest in either politics or professional sports, but I've always kind of liked Novak Jock-ovic, in an unthinking, superficial kind of way. Hey, I like guys, he's kind of cute, with that athlete's sheen to him: that's enough.

Still—although they thoroughly botched the execution—I think that Australia's decision to deport the unvaccinated A-hole was spot-on. Like everyone else, I'm weary of the double standard that permits to Big Names what is denied the rest of us.

I'm not really glad that they kicked His Arrogance out of Ozzie-land; frankly, that would require more caring than I can muster in this case. Still, let us say that he deserved what he got.

You can put me down as unsorry.