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The Temporo-Pædantickal

Reference to times such as 12 AM and (especially) 12 PM can elicit adverse comment. Look you (runneth the argument) — A.M. and P.M. are Latin, meaning ante and post meridiem respectively, where meridies is of course noon. Noon is at noon, therefore it is neither A.M. nor P.M. It is just M. And midnight is likewise not properly assignable to the A.M. or P.M. One would like to call it anti-meridiem, abbreviated “A.M.” but this might baffle the vulgar — and besides, surely the temptation to form portmanteau words from different classical languages, though not so villainous as some of those which beset us, is one from which deliverance is devoutly to be wished. An altogether deplorable habit, and most injurious to the young, the ever-impressionable young, who should only be exposed to the purest linguistic constructions.

This argument against calling noon 12 P.M., however, fails — it has feet of clay — for noon is not, in fact, God’s noon. Our whorish parceling out of the continuing expanse of earthly creation, our mastery-seeking quantization of the Lord’s subtle meld of sea and sward, mountain and moor, into Time Zones (or as I call them, Mammon Zones) has perverted the notion of noon beyond all recognition.

This, however, is not even the half of it, friends. We Americans, with our prideful fiction of “Daylight Savings Time”, pervert the notion even further. (O Columbia! If even thou, fair lady, sinnest so, what hope have other nations?) It is possible for what we errantly call “noon” to be hours from God’s noon.

Should we cast down these prideful fictions, and return to God’s noon as our noon? Or would that be in itself overly prideful — should we, that is to say, keep our current Mammon-noon and thereby bear the sins of our forebears on our shoulders as a reminder (and a chilling one) of our own propensity to sin? Friends, I cannot say.

5 Responses to “The Temporo-Pædantickal”

  1. Ezra Cooper Says:

    We should bear such guilt on our shoulders. Those wartime politickers who readjusted our noon from the True Noon were sinners of the first rank, and we are due to suffer for it, as even now, where it can be observed that an earnest and hard-working young man of the great Cities can be caught leaving home in darkness, and setting foot home again in darkness. Is it not horrid to conceive?

    Yet think not on it, for in other realms there be even stranger things. To wit: in New Zealand, when Daylight Savings Time comes about (that is, in our Winter), they put their clocks to +13 hours from Greenwich. Plus *thirteen*. Can’st conceive it?

    It is a strange and wondrous thing.

  2. jared Says:

    i’d like to see us move to a system based entirely on ad hoc countdown timing, with no recognized event-independent clock, and no names for days or months. a time for everything, and everything at its time.

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