Puzzle solved

During the campaign, Mr. Bush made a reference to the current inhabitants of Greece as “the Grecians,” and was duly made fun of for doing so, since everyone else calls them “Greeks.” Eugene Volokh points out that “Grecian” is a completely legitimate, though archaic, English word. (In fact, it still has some currency as an adjective.) As I understand it, though, its reference has always been to classical, rather than contemporary, Greece, as for example Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or Dryden’s translation of Plutarch’s “Lives of the Eminent Grecians and Romans.”

If so, Eugene’s defense of Bush as using a term merely archaic rather than incorrect cannot, I think, stand. Bush used a term for the ancient Hellenes in referring to the contemporary Hellenes, which was a mistake.

But that left a puzzle: Where did Bush find the word? It didn’t seem likely that he’d been reading Keats or old translations of Plutarch. But now (see post immediately below) we know where he saw it:

The label of his bottle of Grecian Formula.

[Update here.]

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com