What's wrong with a lot of writing today
A blog called Open Brackets features an article "Recherche'" which describes two annoying trends in modern literature - the catalogue of minutiae (my take on that is that it is a failed attempt to emulate Pynchon) and the endless self-absorbed musing of mind-bogglingly uninteresting though often "famous" people (the so-called Oprah syndrome). I say "Amen".
Word of the Day
Defined at Dictionary.com Word of the Day. What a cool word!
Dave at Orcinus had an excellent post on Monday, musing philosophically about the violent death and mutilation of Americans in Iraq. He was one of at least two bloggers to note a similarity between the photo not widely circulated (for obvious reasons) and photos of patriotic white Americans and their mutilation victims, in this case the lynched "Negroes" of the Jim Crow south. I thought of this exquisitely depressing poem by W. H. Auden, one of my favourites of all time, which, unfortunately, I find myself trotting out from time to time as it again begins to describe my bleak worldview to a "t". An excerpt or two:
"I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again."
. . .
"Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good."
. . .
"All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die."
Word of the Day #28
Tomorrow being Quinquagesima Sunday.
Defined at Catholic Encyclopaedia and at Hyperdictionary.com.
Word of the Day #27
Defined at Dictionary.com
Nuances of gay identities reflected in new language
'Homosexual' is passe in a 'boi's' life, says an article about new queer language in SFGate.com.
"The language thing is tricky," said Thom Lynch, the director of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center. "I feel sorry for straight people."
Don't cry for me, San Francisco. I may be in a straight marriage and I have never had a real girlfriend (though a few dates with dykes and a lot of unrequited lesbo crushes), but I have found my term: I'm a "heteroflexible"!
Word of the Day #25
Word of the Day #24
Definition and history at Merriam-Webster Word of the Day archives.
Friday Afternoon Special #3 - Phrase of the Day
trip the light fantastic
The Maven's Word of the Day, Words@random, Random House publishers had this as a word of the day way back in 2001.
Grrrr - another diction rant
From the Guardian Online, today's "front page":
Gram Parsons fan John Harris on a new film that celebrates the mythical country rock star.
I won't bother telling you what's wrong with this; you should know.
I won't link because it will only be there for a day or less.
Word of the Day #23
Definition using the Google Search: define: feature.
Word of the Day #22
Again, word discovered in Foucault's Pendulum, definition found in Hyper Dictionary.
Word of the Day #21
A truly excellent word, defined at Hyper Dictionary.
Word of the Day #20
Serendipitously found at, and then stolen from, Weird Words