1. Didn’t we recently discuss the way that “awful” has changed its meaning over the years?

    P.S. Assuming a linear scale, those bars look like they would average a good bit better than just 2.1 out of 5.

  2. I think the summary at the top includes some additional individual responses that we don’t see.

  3. I don’t know about “a good bit”, but I get an average of 2.38. (I estimated 5 five-star ratings, 7 four-star, 10 three-star, 8 two-star, and 20 one-star ratings.)

  4. @ Powers – Thanks for the confirmation. I didn’t use integers, I just measured the lengths of the bars with a ruler, and the average came out as 2.404 – given the crudeness of my method, I’m pleased that the answer was so close to your result.

    P.S. @ Mitch – I ignored the values in the four listed comments.

  5. I asked my sister, who is a self-described “oldish philosopher”. Her replies:

    You mean the comments about Socrates? They’re funny! It’s about the Socratic Method. He, like, used it: asking questions as a way if stimulating thinking. Deeper and deeper (more and more granular) questions, challenging built-in assumptions.
    I think admitting you don’t know is a big step in paring away assumptions. And comment #3 is about leetle boyz, plus Socrates’s “classes” were fairly casual gatherings that wouldn’t fly today in the “gotta get my money’s worth” student atmosphere.
    In short, I guess ya gotta be an oldish philosopher to get the comic.

  6. Didn’t we recently discuss the way that “awful” has changed its meaning over the years?

    Do you mean over the centuries? At one time it meant something close to modern “awesome”.

  7. In short, I guess ya gotta be an oldish philosopher to get the comic.

    This came up in a recent-ish comic strip that I read, but I don’t recall which. Recent enough that “socratic method” is in my list of Google searches.

  8. I was hung up at first with the “RATES” in “Socrates”. I suppose that’s just a coincidence. I kind of figured each criticism related somehow to Socrates’s work, but didn’t know for sure.

  9. @ Brian in StL – Yes, that’s the meaning I was referring to. I wasn’t aware how old it was.

  10. Gotta disagree with Phil Smith’s sister on #3. It wasn’t a sex thing, but rather about him teaching young men to prefer oligarchy to democracy. Socrates trial was super political. At the end of the Peloponnesian War, a group of men who came to be known as the Thirty Tyrants took over the Athenian government. Some of them had been his students, so he got punished for what they did, even though he actually opposed them in a couple of instances.

  11. Thanks, DemetriosX, for explaining the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth brought against Socrates.

  12. Socrates was also against writing things down (or at least Plato’s Socrates was). Would make sense that he would be against powerpoint presentations and note taking. (Of course, we only know this because Plato wrote it down. A bit of a hypocrite?)


    BTW – So happy to see this blog back online! I thought it had gone away. I have updated the address in my feed reader.

  13. DemetriosX, I’ll pass that along! Her husband is also a philosopher, so they may have some additional color to add there.

  14. “Awful” also came to mean “excessively”, by way of “awfully” — “That guy is awfully fat”, “That guy is awful fat.”

    In an old Popeye cartoon, Popeye mumbles to Olive: “Gee, Olive, you’re awful pretty!” Olive replies “You’re pretty awful yourself.”

    In the 1950’s an ice cream store came out with a new kind of frappe they called an “Awful Awful”, meaning “Awful big, awful good.” It was such a success that Friendly’s restaurants licensed the name. But it wasn’t that much of a success for Friendly’s until they renamed it the Fribble.

    The different meanings of “Awful” seem to have spread everywhere. Unfortunately not so for “wicked” as in “wicked good” which is still confined to certain parts of New England even though the earliest citations are two hundred years old. Something that is really good is “wicked pissah.”

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