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'the adoption by'...

Posted by R. Berg on November 20, 2003

In Reply to: 'the adoption by' & 'to have a public airing' posted by sunjuvo on November 20, 2003

: Hi, forumites.
: I have a few phrases to understand not easy. I will give you some quotations, and read and help me understand them. My questions are about the meaning of two phrases, 'the adoption by' & 'to have a public airing.'

: ***Quotation;
: Before the (Boer) war started, Conan Doyle had expressed an interest in pacifism. He had even spoken at a public meeting in Hindhead in January 1899, in support of Tsar Nicholas II's peace conference aimed at arms limitation between the European powers and the establishment of an international peace tribunal. George Bernard Shaw, also now a Hindhead resident, attended the meeting and actually agreed with him. Conan Doyle was very wary of Shaw. In his autobiography, he recorded an anecdote about attending a charity function at Hindhead where the guests were treated to an amateur group performance of a part of Shakespeare's As You Like It, of which Shaw quite unjustifiably wrote a scathing review in a local paper. Conan Doyle was furious and commented that it showed that the adoption by the world of vegetarianism would not bring unkind words and actions to an end, by which he was having a sly dig at Shaw's much-flaunted dietary foibles. He allowed that 'Shaw is a genial creature to meet, and I am prepared to believe that there is a human kindly side to his nature', but added that he thought it had yet to have a public airing. ***

: As for 'the adoption by the world of vegetarianism', does it mean that Shaw adopted the world of vegetarianism, or the world of vegetarianism adopted him? Or do they not make any difference? Is it accepable to put 'the adoption of the world of vegetarianism' instead of 'by'? It makes me confusing.

: And, what does it mean 'to have a public airing'? Dose the phrase mean 'to have a public reponse'? Did Conan Doyle say that he considered Shaw as a good man personally, but he thought that that point had to be discussed and debated by the public? That means Conan Doyle was suspicious of Shaw's good personality?

: I am looking for your opinions.
: Thank you.
: sunjuvo

"The adoption by the world of vegetarianism" = the world's adoption of vegetarianism; similar to a person's adoption of a habit. Shaw was a vegetarian. Some people believed that eating meat made people aggressive and that vegetarians were sweet and peaceable. Conan Doyle meant that even if everyone on earth were to become a vegetarian, unkindness would continue. That was a way of accusing Shaw of being unkind.

"He thought it had yet to have a public airing": Conan Doyle meant that Shaw's human kindly side might exist in private but had never been shown in public.