Sadly, It Is Not Johnny-Cum-Lately

Johnny-Cum-LatelyIt’s amazing how the internet can allow you to seem a lot more knowledgeable than you are. For example, I was thinking of the phrase “Johnny-come-lately.” But I thought that the middle word was “cum” and not “come.” It is, after all, a weird construction. And I was used to phrases of this form that used “cum”: something-cum-something. So so why not Johnny-cum-lately? I decided to look up the word “cum.” And then I released that if I entered that word into Google, I was not going to get the information that I was looking for.

It reminds me of a time years ago that I was working on an underground magazine called Orange Toast. And I had this idea for a comic called, “Alf: Prostitute for Peace.” And we all thought it would be extra funny if I drew it. Then, the mastermind of the whole thing, Mark Neville, would do the pen work. So it ended up looking kind of professional, but with my total lack of perspective and whatnot. But I remember that Mark was unhappy that I used the word “come” for what he thought should be “cum.” Mark was pedantic in that way.

The truth is, I didn’t really know. Having an orgasm seems to me rather like “coming.” And the use of “cum” in the porn industry strikes me even today as an affectation. Regardless, I always knew that “cum” was a real Latin word, so I entered “cum Latin” and I got the answer that I was looking for. In Latin, “cum” means “with.” Although it also means “together,” which I find amusing. It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of simultaneous orgasms. But when the word is used in everyday English, it is with the former meaning — or perhaps “along with.”

Grammarist offers a good example of the use of the word, “Jimmy is a hunter-cum-animal-activist.” And in that example, you can see how easy it is to get confused. It means that Jimmy is a hunter and an animal activist — a somewhat ironic, or at least unusual, combination. But if you read the sentence out of context, it would be more natural to read “cum” as “become” as in, “Jimmy is a hunter turned animal activist.” So you can see why I might have thought the original phrase was “Johnny-cum-lately.” And I think the case can be made.

For example, when “cum” is used as a conjunction it can mean “since” or “while” or “although.” The last of those works rather well. It isn’t that I’m trying to justify my ignorance. It’s just that “Johnny-come-lately” is so strange a way to describe a newcomer. That’s not to say that it isn’t useful, because none of the definitions I’ve seen get at the critical thing about the phrase: it is a pejorative. The implication is always that someone has joined a group or movement only after it became popular and most likely only because as well.

Regardless, I wish it were “Johnny-cum-lately.” It just feels right. The right spelling of it doesn’t make distinctly more sense.

Why I’m Against Open Primaries

Open PrimariesOne thing that has shown up a lot on the Bernie Sanders side of the Democratic primary is the idea that independents should be able to vote in party primaries. Indeed, this is already the case in 20 states. I think this is totally wrong. What’s more, I think those in favor of it have forgotten what political parties have traditionally been. In the not so distant past, political party elites pretty much decided who was going to be their candidates. Since then, things have gotten much more democratic. And that’s a good thing. But open primaries? I think it would be better to go back to the elites deciding.

I don’t like our two party system. If we had a parliamentary system with multiple parties, I most definitely wouldn’t be a Democrat. But we do have the system that we have. Let’s change the system! I’m all for that. But I’m not for people who can’t even be willing to take a stand as to their party preference deciding which candidate either party decides to nominate. Democrats should get to nominate the Democratic nominee and Republicans should get to nominate the Republican nominee. Otherwise, what is the primary even for?! Why not just go straight to the general election?

I’m not sure what the Sanders campaign is complaining about. According to Ballotpedia, Clinton has won 58% of the open primaries and 61% of the closed primaries.

There are lots of things we could change about the primary system. I’d personally like to see fewer super delegates in the Democratic Party. But it doesn’t much matter. I fully believe that if Bernie Sanders had three million more votes than Hillary Clinton, there would be a mad rush of super delegates to Sanders. And look at the Republican Party! It seems that every four years they change their rules to stop what happened last time from happening again. And they succeed! Something even worse happens, instead!

Open Primaries Are Like Non-Primaries

I’ll be honest: I don’t understand this issue at all. Being a member of a political party is no more difficult than registering to vote. (I think having to register to vote in general elections is a big problem, but few people are complaining about it.) Allowing independents to vote in partisan primaries is like letting Canadians vote in US elections. It really isn’t any business of independents who the Democrats and Republicans nominate.

Now I’ll admit: I’m not keep on independents. To me, they are just a bunch of people with a clear partisan ax to grind who want the world to applaud them for their “independence” and lack of partisanship. Well, if that’s what they want, there ought to be some price to pay. And the bare minimum that the price should be is that they don’t get a say in how the political parties run their business. They are, after all, “independent.” Why do they even care who the parties nominate? They are above all that! And in the end, there will be a full slate of candidates to vote from parties more explicitly fascist than the Republicans to actual socialists.

What’s more, I’m not sure what the Sanders campaign is complaining about. According to Ballotpedia, Clinton has won 58% of the open primaries and 61% of the closed primaries. Are we really supposed to believe that this election would be different if there had been nothing but open primaries? I’m a very disgruntled Democrat. But I am a Democrat. And I don’t see why people who can’t even be bothered to pick a party should get a say in who my party nominates.


Note that this does not apply to candidates. The fact that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat doesn’t matter in the least as long as members of the Democratic Party want to nominate him.