Monday, May 5, 2014

Much Brouhaha About Nothing

A recent news story observed, “The Republican brouhaha over how to go about repealing Obamacare is never-ending.”  Setting aside the foolishness of wanting to get rid of this country’s first halting step toward civilized medical care, let’s first consider the word brouhaha, meaning “noise, uproar, hubbub, confusion.”

First seen in English around 1890, it apparently was not yet respectable enough to be admitted to either the 1928 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary or the 1934 Webster’s New International.

Etymologists are a little wishy-washy about where brouhaha originated.  It was supposedly a phrase used in medieval French drama as a cry of the devil when disguised as a clergyman. (Nowadays such a cry is more along the lines of “Send a contribution today.”) It is speculated that brouhaha may be a corruption of the Hebrew barukh habba’, which means “blessed be the one who comes.”  Or it could be a modification of the stereotypical evil laugh bwahaha, an indispensable attribute of villains in amateur theatrical productions.

One nice thing about pronouncing the word: according to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (to which brouhaha has now gained admission), you can put the accent on any syllable you like—BROO-ha-ha, broo-HA-ha, or broo-ha-HA, or even give equal stress to them all.

About that brouhaha over Obamacare: the Bard of Buffalo Bayou thinks that anyone who wants to repeal it suffers from a pre-existing condition of mental illness (which, of course, is covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act). 

            It shouldn’t take a Thomas Edison
            To invent a means to access medicine.           

            Fifty million uninsured
            Means fifty million won’t be cured.

            I hope a medal is awardable
            To those who keep health care affordable.

            For better health and trauma care,
            Bring on the Obamacare.

            If Obamacare makes you a fretter,
            Then you come up with something better.

1 comment:

  1. The something better is single payer,
    Let's enact that now, said the soothsayer.