Not really worth starting a pit thread, but this irritates me:
I’m glad people have stopped saying that it’s four fingers pointing back at you. Still, though, the pointing of the index finger is a simple, well-understood gesture that doesn’t require or admit to further analysis. The direction in which the other fingers are pointing is not part of the gesture, except that they’re out of the way. Your fingers don’t all radiate recrimination wherever you happen to have them pointed. It’s the act of singling out one of them that gives the pointing gesture its significance.
Look, if somebody threatens you with a fist, he can’t take as a defense that he was merely poking himself in the hand with his own four fingers. We know what a fist represents.
I’m not less tolerant of sophistry than anyone else. I will stipulate that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I just take a little umbrage at talking like that first step was the hard part, especially when we’ll be back here next year congratulating ourselves about that same god-damned first step.
And, I realize that “A stranger may or may not be just a friend you haven’t met yet” is less punchy than the original, but I just feel that it’s more accurate.