Department of Redundancy Department

Seen on the menu of the UCLA Faculty Center:

Borscht soup

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

11 thoughts on “Department of Redundancy Department”

  1. In another locale, one could construe this as the functionally equivalent of "Borscht (soup)", with the parentheses tactfully omitted to avoid patronization. However, that is not a good explanation in a place that brings together the borscht and the brightest.

  2. On a menu: Hot grilled Italian style pannini sandwiches.

    No I am not making this up.

  3. It's even more terrifying to think that it's not redundant. Soup made from, with or containing some amount of borscht. Leftover leftovers.

  4. My first mistake was assuming that the commissary lunchroom would accept my credit card. Turned out that the manager insisted on cash money, so I had to leave my borshch soup right there on the counter, while I walked on foot over to the nearest local ATM machine, but my PIN number wouldn't work. I was about to go into the bank, when the alarm bell sounded and an armed gunman, with a sack of money rushed out the door right past me and slipped on a patch of frozen ice, knocking himself out cold, at which point I was given totally undue and undeserved credit for foiling the heist. I said, "what the hell" as I pocketed the reward money and headed back to the cafeteria to pay for my borshch. It was cold.

  5. Couple of other examples:

    Shrimp Scampi (not uncommon)

    And a favorite of mine, from college dining hall days:

    Pot Roast, with Au Jus

  6. Scampi is actually a style of preparation. I've seen chicken scampi on menus. Shrimp scampi is much more common, of course. It's kind of like ordering a martini and being asked "Gin or vodka?" A purist could argue that a martini is made with gin, full stop. A moderate could argue that a martini is made with gin and a "vodka martini" is otherwise like a martini but made with vodka. But the idea that you have to specify bothers me. It's like when I say "slash" and people ask "forward or backward." There's no such thing as a forward slash. There's a slash, found below the question mark and running from bottom left to top right, and there's a backslash, often found below the pipe symbol and running the opposite way, but "forward slash" is an abomination. And mad props to Proton for the most redundant tautologies ever found in a single one paragraph!

  7. Agreed. "Shrimp Scampi" is now so ubiquitous that most folks in the U.S. probably think of scampi as a form of preparation. So if you are a descriptivist, the usage is probably proper today. But originally, it referred to a dish that necessarily consisted of shrimp, making "shrimp scampi" redundant. See, e.g.,

  8. Permit me, in the interest of historical record precision accuracy, and for the benefit of anyone out there suffering the disability of being under 56 years old, to offer a footnote and citation of attribution for the "Department of Redundancy Dept." — Firesign Theatre's 1970 classic humorous comedy album recording, "Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers."

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