Lipton’s Journal/February 22, 1955/670
Social forms: We say, I’m afraid we can’t make it this evening.” How true. What we are-saying is, “I am afraid. We can’t make it this evening.” Whatever people say, they mean. They mean it in its opposite at a given level of er- and at the next deeper level, they mean it literally except that the periods, commas, stresses, etc. are shifted. Speech rests on er and sup, on rhythmic contraction and expansion (beat) and emphasis (syncopation). Between the shifting two is the music of communication—human speech. One must always listen to exactly what people say. In the commonest banality for any social coterie is the statement of their collective fears. “I don’t dig you, man,” is the hipster’s admission of terror.