Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nattering

N is the letter of the day for the A to Z Challenge.

I have never heard a single person use the word "nattering" in conversation.

However, Spiro Agnew, the only Vice President of the United States to resign from office due to criminal charges, is also at least as famous for uttering "nattering nabobs of negativism".

Agnew relished criticizing opponents with mind blowing comments. Try saying these three times fast:

  • pusillanimous pussyfooters
  • hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history
  • an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals

Of course, Agnew had help from speech writers William Safire and Pat Buchanan for those gems. Safire takes credit for the more famous nabobs quote.

I taught computer software for Univac for two years. It was fun. My boss always accused me of buying my critiques that the students filled out at the end of my classes. Yes, they were that good!

One of those critiques, I fondly remember. An older gentleman who had struggled somewhat in my 3-week Assembler/Exec 8 class wrote: "I thank you for your compassion and help which allowed this nattering nabob of negativism to grasp this demanding course."

This pusillanimous pussyfooter hopeless and hysterical nattering nabob really appreciated that comment.