Words: hello, interj.

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The Independent Culture
IN A free-association test any mention of Larry Flynt's magazine Hustler would surely not prompt the reply Hello!. They are poles apart. The latest issue of Hustler, however, does lead one to reflect upon a new usage which the word has acquired.

The issue does not contain the promised revelations about Bob Livingstone, but recumbent in 20-year-old photographs is Dr Laura Schlessinger, now a highly moralistic wireless agony aunt. She is in the habit of silencing callers with stern advice and then asking, "hello? hello?" to make them feel even more idiotic. It was not long before kindergarten playgrounds echoed to the tapping of dunderheads' brows and the query "hello?" when something had not sunk in. Such tactics have spread to banking circles.