Jack Ohman

Call me quasi-, but I think Gov. Brown is studying for the SAT Verbal section again...

As we drift toward the end of the Legislative session, I noted that Gov. Jerry Brown, (R-D-Ind-CA), in his own inimitable manner, said that he and legislative leaders were in "quasi-collaborative mode" on the budget, which is quasi-reassuring in a pseudo-kind of way. 

Whenever someone uses the prefix "quasi-," I usually have to assume that, in fact, what they say is happening isn't really happening. Phrases like this include:

"I'm in a quasi-relationship." That means you're not really in a relationship, exactly. Maybe you meet every few weeks to collaborate. I don't know.

Or, "this is a quasi-decent movie." That means it had one good scene and you liked the soundtrack okay.

Probably the most famous quasi- was Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame (who is a character in the book "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," just for quasi-clarity) from where, I am sure, Gov. Brown derives a lot of his quasi-Jesuitical way of thinking (the university, not the place in France). Quasimodo means "almost a standard measurement," and, by any standard measurement, he is an actual hunchback, and not almost a hunchback. But that's just a semi-hunch.

Everyone is afraid of Quasimodo in the book by Victor Hugo (who once wrote his agent a letter inquiring about his book sales with a single punctuation mark : "?", and the agent responded with "!"), and I would guess that California taxpayers probably regard the legislature the same way, and not quasi-, either.

In any legislative body, there are hunchbacks, paybacks, givebacks, and back-slaps. But whenever I hear "quasi-," I am pretty sure something impure is going down. Something crypto-, I suspect. That's my quasi-nano-neo-thinking, anyway. Watch your back, too. And your wallet, which could could become your demi-wallet very quickly.

In the other part of Gov. Brown's statement about the "quasi-collaborative mode," he said that he didn't think "edicts or pronunciamentoes will help that process."

Edicts might help, in a quasi-Jesuitical sort of manner (see also:earlier jokes to this effect in previous cartoons and columns), but pronunciamentoes? Hmm. 

Now, look. I have heard many politicians utter many words in the past 35 years of Professionally Paying Attention To This Sort of Thing, but I have never, not one time, ever heard a politician use the word "pronunciamentoes." Ever. I have never ever heard William F. Buckley say pronunciamentoes one time. Ever.

I have heard politicians hand down quasi-pronunciamentoes, however.

But only in Sacranunciamento.

I'm going nuts trying to keep track of Gov. Brown's Weekly Vocab Test, but I'm enjoying it.

In a quasi-sort of way.

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