S / R / N

In comments to this post below, there’s disagreement about whether anything can simultaneously be both rubbish and nonsense. I maintain that it can’t: that something can only be rubbish if it is coherent, and anything incoherent is nonsense. That’s how I learned this vocab from my friend Martin, and I’m sticking to my guns.

On the other hand, I see this morning that Lenin agreed with my critics, and that in Chapter Six of Trotsky’s classic work, The Stalin School of Falsification, he is quoted as saying that something was “nonsense and pathetic rubbish” and that “it is a shame and disgrace to waste time on it”. So if there are any readers of the Stoa who are happy to let some of the Great Bearded Leftists of history decide technical points like this one, they at least can be satisfied that the dispute has been settled.

While on the subject of GBLs, another letter from Fred to Karl which deploys this valuable terminology in abundance is this one, written on 23 May 1862.

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