July 05, 2007

Beyond the pale

Beyond the pale - Unacceptable, Outside the bounds of morality, good behavior or judgment

Ironic (perhaps not), but I’m still to see a society which is not segregated, subtly or emphatically so. When will equal be equal enough, is anyone’s guess. George Orwell had a reason when he wrote,"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". Brings me to the phrase that has its roots in the same grounds as Ghetto .

"Pale" here refers to the archaic sense of the word when it meant wooden strips that are set in series to form a fence. An area enclosed by them was also referred to as pale. So, to be 'beyond the pale' was to be outside the area that's marked as "territory" or "home". Catherine II created a 'Pale of Settlement' in Russia in 1791. This was a western border region of the country in which Jews were allowed to live. The motivation behind this was to restrict trade between Russian Jews and native Russians. Some Jews were allowed to live, as a concession, beyond the pale. More can be read here .

Pales were enforced in various other European countries for similar political reasons, notably in Ireland (the Pale of Dublin) : that part of the country over which England had direct jurisdiction.

The first printed reference comes from 1657 in John Harington's poem "The History of Polindor and Flostella"

Sources: http://www.phrases.org.uk/, www.answers.com

Pic: Map of "The Pale of Settlement" from http://www.friends-partners.org


666 said...

absolutely a-moi-zing post. Would be interested knowing how did u come across it

Moi said...

haha....u and your devilish twists on words:)
picked it up while reading abt the history of Jews persecution ...have u read a book called "Night" by Elie Wiesel, 666???He's the winner of 1986 Nobel Peace prize ( i know even recognitions as prestigious as those are politically motivated but the book describing his life as a teenager in Nazi concentration camp is very disturbing)It's a very thin volume, abt 100 pages...u can read it even with ur busy scheds.

All Blog Spots said...

nice blog

yogsma said...

that's superb post Moi.You seem to be aghast reader..reading so varied books.Keep reading.

Radha said...

great post Moi !