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Audacity

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The Measure of Audacity

They say that one method of tackling a problem is to start with a definition (and, of course, an assumption that there IS a problem).

So, let’s proceed, with audacity –

audacity

Browse the words alphabetically around “audacity”
See entries that contain “audacity”
Syllables: au-dac-i-ty
Return to top of entry Part of Speech noun
View pronunciation guide Pronunciation

aw dae sih ti

Inflected Forms audacities
Definition 1. courage or boldness, esp. when somewhat overconfident, reckless, or arrogant; daring.
Synonyms daring , courage , bravery (1) , fearlessness {fearless} , boldness {bold (4)}
Crossref. Syn. presumption
Similar Words mettle , recklessness {reckless} , hardihood , balls , spunk , grit , valor , ballsiness {ballsy} , overconfidence {overconfident} , resoluteness {resolute}
Definition 2. bold or shameless impudence; brashness; insolence; effrontery.
Synonyms impudence (1) , gall1 (4) , brashness {brash (1,2)} , presumption (4) , impertinence (1) , insolence (1,2) , effrontery (1,2)
Crossref. Syn. nerve
Similar Words arrogance , hardihood , sauciness {saucy} , assertiveness {assertive} , cheek , brassiness {brassy1} , brass , brazenness {brazen (adj)} , forwardness , lip
Definition 3. a statement, action, or the like, that exhibits such courage or impudence.
Synonyms derring-do , impertinence (3)
Crossref. Syn. effrontery
Similar Words arrogance , hotheadedness {hotheaded} , rudeness {rude} , lip
Related Words courage , temerity

©2002 Wordsmyth

http://www.wordsmyth.net/live/home.php?script=search&matchent=audacity&matchtype=exact

I woke this morning with the thought concerning the measure of audacity.

Most everything can be measured, right?

If I am apprehensive, for example, there may be degrees of apprehension.  For example, the trepidation I feel about going to a haunted house on halloween is probably a whole lot less than that of going into surgery to have my spleen removed.

I know I may be frightened in the haunted house, but rationally I know that it is all in fun.

Not so with the surgery.

So, there are degrees of apprehension.

I suppose it would follow that there can be degrees of audacity.

Notice the synonym list in the definition from Wordsmyth (above) ?

“Presumption”.

Now that has some connotation in the present “focus” on the word.

I believe there is a great deal of presumption going on in B.O.’s “Audacity of Hope”.  I think there is a presumption of hope going on here, and the presumptuousness is creating some rather hopeless-looking situations.

There is a presumption that the hope placed in socialist ideology is going to make what was once a great nation into an even bigger and better nation.  The numbers do not seem to bear that out.

I was educated at the knee of management by results (proof, being in the “taste and texture” of the pudding).

Let’s look at some numbers.  Maybe we can glean some form of measurement from some data (don’t all statisticians and scientists love data?).

These number are taken post-audacity of hope:

  • Unemployment – 8%
  • Stock Market (closing bell, Friday March, 6, 2009)
NASDAQ

NASDAQ

NASDAQ over time

NASDAQ over time

  • Consumer Confidence:

screenshot-3

subquote3

Here’s one we haven’t heard much about of late –

  • Housing Starts (duh) –

screenshot-4

Did you by any chance take a gander at those “similar” words in the definition above?  Let’s look at a few, shall we?

mettle , recklessness {reckless} , hardihood , balls , spunk , grit , valor , ballsiness {ballsy} , overconfidence {overconfident} , resoluteness {resolute}

Now, what can we deduce when we look at the pudding, tasting the pudding, and then measuring those results against what we set out to achieve prior to the application of audacious cooking prowess in what we had at that earlier date then expected of the pudding?

Audacity begins to look reckless when the pudding tastes like sawmill grit.

It begins to look like overconfidence.  It begins to take on the qualities of those not-so-nice meanings.

Shakespeare asked the question “What’s in a word.”†

It is his contention that it is the characteristics of the item named that lends its name true meaning.  Like the smell of the rose (or the taste of the pudding).

Now it seems patently obvious to me that there must be a sliding scale here.

Teddy Roosevelt’s audacity simply worked for him.  Charging San Juan hill, taking on powerful bankers and power brokers of his day.

He brings about the meanings “grit”, “spunk”, “valor” and “resoluteness” that have a more positive nature.

He charged, and he won, and for it, he is celebrated.

The rose smelled sweet, and the pudding was delectable.  It smelled and tasted like success.

It was a “hit”.

It is most unfortunate that today’s audaciousness does not carry the same effect.

I like the quote from the Bible “Salt, where is thy savor”.

When it loses its saltiness, it is no longer of use as a flavoring.  It becomes only grit (and apparently one that can never regain its flavor – I have the real audacity to hope such is not the case for America).

This is where I think the road diverges.  Teddy had both the savor, and the grit.

The modern meaning is one of grit without any flavor – and it is simply rubbing everybody, raw and leaving a terrible, terrible after-taste.

To be precise:

Juliet:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Luke 13:34 King James Bible
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?”

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