A master of meiosis

Lord Peter Wimsey, sensing that a break is needed in the growing tension among the group in his parlor, calls for liquid refreshment all around, even though it's still morning. Offering some sherry to Miss Twitterton, he quiets her protestations about taking a drink at that time by assuring her, "you will find it as mild as your own parsnip wine."

The new-wedded lord then gives a glass to Lady Peter, who has also sampled that lady's parsnip wine, and who comments, sotto voce, "You are a master of meiosis."

In case any of the rabid evolutionists should stop by, let me note that meiosis is "a figure of speech by which the impression is intentionally conveyed that a thing is less in size, importance,etc., that it really is"; also, a synonym for litotes. And the meaning goes a long way back before biology latched onto it. (Cf. ellipsis, parable, and hyperbole.)

In other news, Russia and China had a friendly summit meeting and issued a friendly communiqué decrying monopoly and domination in world politics and calling for an end to "attempts to divide nations into leaders and those being led." This, coming from Russia and China, is as hilarious as is the idea of long-term cooperation between those two imperial powers. But hey, a politician's gotta do what a politician's gotta do.

The hilarity dies down when you contemplate the specific issues on which they pledge cooperation against unnamed hegemonists' evil interference: Chechnya and Taiwan.

But the commentators bring the fun back. At the New Eurasia Foundation in Moscow, Andrei Kortunov tells us that the statement means that Russia and China "don't quite believe the sincerity of the second Bush administration's attempts to break its image of being a proponent of unilateral actions and decisions." As if that weren't enough, he adds that "This may be connected with the unilateral actions of Washington in the Middle East, its latest decisions on increasing its defense budget and some others."

A master of meiosis.

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