Not that anyone really cares, but …

… the garment with sleeves that tie in the back to restrain the wearer is a “strait” (i.e., narrow, confining) jacket, not a “straight jacket,” which I think is what came with a leisure suit.

By the same token, there is no “straight and narrow path” of righteousness. Matthew 7:13-14 reads (in the King James Version)

Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.

A strait is literally a narrow body of water, as in “Strait of Gibraltar.” Passage through a strait can be dangerous for a ship, leading to such expressions as “desperate straits.” (I suppose that a “desperate straight” is either a very horny heterosexual or the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of mixed suits facing an opponent holding five diamonds.)

This has been another obsolete and irrelevant message from the language police. You may now resume your normal (and presumably more productive) activities.

H/t: Kevin Drum, who has some substantive comments on the rather … unusual … behavior of the editor of the Washington Times. Bet you didn’t know it was possible to go downhill from Wes Pruden.

Footnote I remain a little bit puzzled by the fact that, long after making fun of the mentally ill ceased to be respectable, it’s still acceptable political invective to liken one’s opponents to the insane. And no, I don’t regard efforts to purge the language of expressions that inflict needless pain on innocent bystanders as instances of an undesirable “political correctness.”

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: