What is Your Conceptual Continuity?

My question in the car yesterday was not so much which is the correct word to use, but, given that Christopher Hitchens said “may not,” was he denying permission or offering a choice.

In this alleged transcript, he uses both “can not” (can’t) and “may not” in consecutive sentences discussing the same topic.  Clearly, what he means is that we do not have permission to say the thing or that we would be wrong to say the thing; he is not offering us an option (may or may not).

HITCHENS: You can’t say of the Big Bang, which is the foundation of the natural order, that it’s a suspension of what it starts. You may not do that.   source

Apostrophe:  The Crux of the Biscuit

In the dark
Where all the fevers grow
Under the water
Where the shark bubbles blow
In the mornin’
By yer radio
Do the walls close in to suffocate ya?
You ain’t got no friends
And all the others: they hate ya
Does the life you been leadin’ gotta go?

Well, let me straighten you out
About a place I know …
(get yer shoes an’ socks on people, it’s right around the corner!)

Out through the night
An’ the whisperin’ breezes
To the place where they keep
The imaginary diseases

Out through the night
An’ the whisperin’ breezes
To the place where they keep
The imaginary diseases . . .

This has to be the disease for you
Now scientists call this disease “bromidrosis”
But us regular folks
Who might wear tennis shoes
Or an occasional python boot
Know this exquisite little inconvenience by the name of:
Stink Foot

Ya know, my python boot is too tight
I couldn’t get it off last night
A week went by, an’ now it’s July
I finally got it off
An’ my girlfriend cried
You got stink foot! Stink foot, darlin
Your stink foot puts a hurt on my nose!
Stink foot! Stink foot! I aint lyin’,
Can you rinse it off, do you suppose?

Here Fido … Fido …
Come here little puppy … bring the slippers
Arf, arf, arf!
Sick …

Well then Fido got up off the floor, and he rolled over
and he looked me straight in the eye
And you know what he said?
“Once upon a time, somebody say to me”
This is the dog talkin’ now
“What is your conceptual continuity?”
“Well I told ’em right then,” Fido said,
“It should be easy to see
“The crux of the biscuit
“is the apostrophe.”
Well you know, the man that was talking to the dog
looked at the dog, and he said,
Sort of staring in disbelief,
“You can’t say that.”
He said,
“It doesn’t, and you can’t, I won’t, and it don’t,
it hasn’t, it isn’t, it even ain’t, and it shouldn’t
it couldn’t”
He told him, “No, no, no”
I told him, “Yes, yes, yes”
I said, “I do it all the time”
(Ain’t this boogie a mess?)

The poodle bites, the poodle chews it

album cover, Apostrophe, by Frank Zappa

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