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January 4, 1964


JAMA. 1964;187(1):55-56. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060140061019

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While the definition does not appear in any dictionary, the word "classic" could be defined: "in reference to books, what everyone praises but no one reads." This has considerable sanction from experience. School children will read classics but usually only under compulsion. Adults, who have free choice, read them much less often.

The very word "classic" may have a chilling connotation, bringing to mind, perhaps, marble ruins or chaste anemic elegance. But how readily all this becomes transmuted if only we change the word "classic" into "classy." Then the imagery at once changes. Then (as of the present moment) there might come to mind, say, a neat stacked broad at a swinging blow-out, or some other image, vibrant and ripe, but not expressible in conventional language. Yesterday the phraseology was different, tomorrow's imagery and expressions we shudder to anticipate. But whatever the jargon in which the concept finds expression, the

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