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Anne Frank and Windows

October 26, 2009

This short videoclip is the only existing footage of Anne Frank. It was released recently. Stefany Anne Golberg has written a good short essay on it.


Short Shrift

January 27, 2009

from the American Heritage Dictionary online:

NOUN:1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss. 2. Quick work. 3a. A short respite, as from death. b. The brief time before execution granted a condemned prisoner for confession and absolution.

WORD HISTORY: To be given short shrift is not the blessing it once was. The source of our verb shrive (shrove, shriven) and noun shrift, which have technical meanings from ecclesiastical Latin, is Classical Latin scribere, “to write.” Shrive comes from the Old English verb scrifan, “to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (a penitent), hear the confession of.” The past participle of scrifan is scrifen, our shriven. The noun shrift, “penance; absolution,” comes from Old English scrift with the same meaning, which comes from scriptus, the perfect passive participle of scribere, and means “what is written,” or, to use the Latin word, “what is prescribed.” Theologians and confessors viewed the sacrament of penance as a prescription that cured a moral illness. In early medieval times penances were long and arduous—lengthy pilgrimages and even lifelong exile were not uncommon—and had to be performed before absolution, not after as today. However, less demanding penances could be given in extreme situations; short shrift was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution.