Powell on Powell: Skeptic or Sycophant?

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The 2013 Taper Tantrum Transcripts

Ancient Athenians used caution when handling figs. Any attempt to abscond with the fertile fruit and flee the city was a punishable offense. The Greeks, renowned for their epicurean fare, prized their produce and forbid its export save one notable exception, the king of the table, the olive. Why? Because never must rival orchardist be allowed to forget that Greek olives were the best Mother Nature could provide. As for those who succumbed to smuggling, they were branded sykophantes. In what can only be inferred as etymological gentrification, the original meaning of this label was cleansed. Breaking the word down to its nuts and bolts, the Greek word sykonmeans “fig” while phainein means to “show or reveal.” “Showing” figs illegally invokes the word’s modern-day use – that of deceit with the aim of benefitting in some way. “Revealing” your fig, however, conjures a more salacious derivation bringing to mind those with perverted predilections who craved the exhilaration of parting their togas in public.

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Danielle DiMartino Booth is CEO and Director of Intelligence at Quill Intelligence

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