Tuesday, October 09, 2007


GUILLOTINE, n. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.

In his great work on Divergent Lines of Racial Evolution, the learned Professor Brayfugle argues from the prevalence of this gesture — the shrug — among Frenchmen, that they are descended from turtles and it is simply a survival of the habit of retracing the head inside the shell. It is with reluctance that I differ with so eminent an authority, but in my judgment (as more elaborately set forth and enforced in my work entitled Hereditary Emotions — lib. II, c. XI) the shrug is a poor foundation upon which to build so important a theory, for previously to the Revolution the gesture was unknown. I have not a doubt that it is directly referable to the terror inspired by the guillotine during the period of that instrument's activity.

2007 Update: A ruthless, efficient and democratic alternative to the electoral college or parliamentary procedure, although still far too kind.

A duke, despot, pasha or clown
Might well lose a head to the town.
But however truncated,
Tyranny's unabated,
Lost on the scaffold, found on the ground.


The Old Mule said...

guillotine: death on credit (see Celine).

G said...

Let me claim first before someone gets out the guillotine!

G said...

beheaded by the old mule ;(

Minka said...

guillotine, n. the cutting edge machinery that teaches man the ways of chicken

Tom & Icy said...

Can I get one at Wal Mart?

Anonymous said...

The shrug was much more exciting than the guillotine which spelled my way means guilt dancers in my language

Unknown said...

what made Ann regret she ever ate cake

The Old Mule said...

too delicious, Karma...

The OE said...

Guillotine: A phrase coined by MC Hammer's cousin Guilliard, similar to MC Hammer's "Hammertime" but with pronunciation differences related to Gulliard's cleft lip.

TLP said...

La Guillotine: gruesome in any language.

Jim said...

Guillotine: I blogged about the antics, thoughts, and speech of people after losing their head.

Also about some studies concerned what does the body do without a head.

I looked for it just now and nothing came up on a quick search. I think my 'censor' had me take it down because it was very gruesome, it still may be in 'drafts.'

Anonymous said...

GUILLOTINE n. an that which gave rise to the popular phrase "don't lose your head".

(Okay, I don't know that to be true, but it sounds plausible, doesn't it?)

Anonymous said...

GUILLOTINE, n. About the only device We the People have not yet used to beat up on people who are not terrorists. (Thanks, Quilly, for wondering aloud about this in my hearing.)

tsduff said...

G - that mule can kick!

Guillotine - An unpronounceable, fancy axe.

Jamie Dawn said...

Today's word and all related to it (the shrug, your poem, others' comments) give me the willies.

The guillotine is better than the gallows though, because it's sure to be a quicker death.
Too much can go awry with the whole gallows thing.

Before the guillotine, when the executioner did the dirty deed, there were times when he'd been drinking or didn't put his whole back into it, or his aim was purposefully off that some partial choppings occured.
That is most hitonious!

I'm not quite sure what is ignominous about my comment to you yesterday.
Was it the thought of two of us pretending to be blind or the thought of Willy & Wilela having to eat leftovers???

Anonymous said...

Guillotine - A quite effective political debating tool.

Doug The Una said...

Mule, I guess that was before paper or plastic.

G, co-first? Like Marie Antoinette?

Minka, that's hilarious.

Icy, yeah but those are the cheap ones. Stainless steel's important.

Pia, what doesn't mean guilt dancers in your language?

Karma, do you think her last words were "I can't believe I ate the whole thing?"

OE, if frenchmen could stretch like that, the guillotine would bounce.

TLP, it actually sounds pretty in Arabic.

Jim, psst, post it here in the comments. Your censor will never know.

Quilly, anymore that's needlessly accurate.

Amoeba, that whole story is shameful.

Terry, with a soft log.

Jamie Dawn, you remind me of the phrase "he'd complain if he was hung with a new rope." The ignominy was the dogs having to pretend to be servants when it's the other way around.

Poobah, and blunter than average.

mireille said...

I think JD's right. Some of those recently experiencing lethal injection might have prayed for the relatively quicker beheading. I'm not trying to be funny here. Which is good, since I'm not. xoxo

Cooper said...

So, a "bring back the guillotine" campaign of the people should be initiated - I guess.

Another day, another empty collar.

Doug The Una said...

Mireille, this country is all about choices, isn't it?

Cooper, where do I sign?