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Wu Ting
How would you interpret the adjective “good” in the phrase “the good Dr. Kinsey”? How extraordinary he is, the good Dr. Kinsey. Another man in a white coat, with proof. Everything we ever dared think about men and sex turns out to be true. One hundred percent of men are homosexual for 4 percent of their lives (the Billy Boorzais), and 4 percent are homosexual for 100 percent of their lives (the Tommy Cuddys). Strangest of all, Dr. Kinsey’s book has not been checked out of the library before. Not even once: the slip in the jacket hasn’t a single name on it. Yet the spine was well cracked, every page of the book dog-eared and bent. How would you interpret the adjective “good” in the phrase “the good Dr. Kinsey”? Does it mean deserving respective or learned? Thanks. And this excerpt is taken from The Lacuna by Kingsolver.
23 июня 2015 г., 3:56
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Answers · 2
Like many of these questions, it is so nuanced that I am not sure about the answer and will be curious to see what other native English speakers think. The phrase "the good doctor" is a colocation. I think it dates to the days when the image of "the doctor" was of an individual--a self-sacrificing, benevolent, caring avuncular man, like a priest. One imagines a country doctor being awakened at 3 a.m., grabbing his black bag, hopping onto his horse, and riding ten miles in a snowstorm to deliver a baby. It was once a perfectly straightforward and sincerely meant phrase. Recently, and I think this is the case in this passage, it is often used in a strange way, affectionate and gently mocking at the same time. For example, the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov had a Ph.D. in biochemistry and was thus entitled to be addressed as "Dr." In science-fiction fan circles, he was often referred to as "the good doctor." Alfred Kinsey was an intensely controversial figure. He was the researcher who authored a book, then commonly called "the Kinsey report," "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," and even more controversial, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female." He did his best to report in a scientific way on actual behavior as it actually occurred. The result was that the nation was shocked by the knowledge that forms of sexual behavior that had been thought to be "perverted," immoral, and in many cases felonies, were actually so common as to be considered "normal." Kinsey was so controversial that a song lyric by Cole Porter, containing the phrase "According to the Kinsey report" had to be edited for television and the movies. The very name Kinsey was considered unacceptable, and singers would sing "According to the latest report.." !!!! So, by using the appellation "the good Dr. Kinsey" he is saying that he thinks this highly controversial doctor truly was a "good doctor," not in the traditional sense, but because of his effect on U.S. society.
23 июня 2015 г.
It is a term of respect meaning that he does good work. It is generally only used this way for doctors, preachers, and older people.
23 июня 2015 г.
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English