The groundlings over at 770 — I am too lazy to provide links — seem to be baffled that I make the following simpleminded yet goodnatured jest:
“I actually have rather plebeian tastes. Albeit I suppose a real plebeian would not know the word “plebeian”. He would use the phrase “the hoi polloi” instead.”
Joining with our own Dr Andreassen, they rushed in an avalanche of sophomoric vainglory to point out that the article in Greek repeats the article in English, and then excused their remarkable solecism by saying that *I* was the pedant. It was not just one jackanape who made such a remark, but a plethora: a veritable avalanche of gaffe.
One braying jenny congratulated herself on having ‘called me out’ for this alleged malapropism, by which she evidently meant, posting the erroneous correction under an assumed name on a blog I avoid reading, of whose existence I was blissfully unaware until the blog owner, Mr Glyer, started vexing, snarking and snarling at me, for reasons which yet elude explanation. To call someone out means to challenge him, that is, to direct an offer of combat not to a third party in an unvisited location, but to him.
I was surprised how few got the reference to Gilbert and Sullivan, whom, frankly, I did not think so very obscure. Once fellow who did catch the reference further surprised me when he opined that I intended no one to catch the reference, which was therefore evidence of something intolerable or uncomely about my person. Perhaps he thought I was telling a joke I meant no one to get? His reasoning was elliptical and, I fear, eludes my grasp.
PEERS: Our lordly style
You shall not quench
With base canaille!
FAIRIES: (That word is French.)
PEERS: Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs!
FAIRIES: (A Latin word.)
PEERS: ‘Twould fill with joy,
And madness stark
The hoi polloi!
FAIRIES: (A Greek remark.)
I was taught, and experience confirms, that the alleged correction of “the hoi polloi” is the very soul and exemplar of pedantic error and half-learned buffoonery.
No learned man ever offers that correction, and no one ever offers it innocently, but only in vulgar pretense of erudition they do not possess. (A man with a modicum of real education would look in the OED, and see this phase is correct in English.)