Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Word By Any Other Name

"Pretty good. Pretttttttty, pretttttttttty, pretttttty good." - Larry David (many times)

"I'll take your words and be gone
Your words and be gone
I'll take your words and be gone" - Lady GaGa - "Words"

"Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" - Mae West

A Man of Few Words (East Harlem)
That's what I like about the internet. You wake up and find out about so many weird otherwise obscure things.

Take the "thebookslut" for example. Yes, that's right, The Book Slut. I follow her on Twitter.

A new vocabulary, a new lexicon, a new whatever ...

Ms Book Slut recently "tweeted", published in 140-or-less characters, that there is a German word for "excess weight gained from emotional overeating" - "Kummerspeck" - literally, grief bacon. I "followed" Ms BookSlut's link to the Dental Floss Archives. I wanted to find out more.

It's easy to feel like Alice in Wonderland on the internet. Who knew? And who knows where you'll end up? One minute I'm following Ms BookSlut and the next I'm reading about obscure words and cyber-flossing.

I read that there is a Yiddish word, "Luftmensch" - to describe social misfits - meaning an "impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person." But of course I knew that!

And so I got to dreaming. I remembered three weeks ago seeing Larry David in a sneak preview of an episode from his newest "Curb Your Enthusiasm" series. What a genius! I firmly believe that if the world had even 2.5 more Larry Davids, then we'd have peace and justice and whatever else a rational mind could envisage.

Instead we are all here and now and reliant on HBO for a modicum of sanity ... Scary!

More Words (Mid-town Manhattan)
But back to "words". Three weeks ago when the preview of "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" "Palestine Chicken" episode was shown on the huge screen at 92Y in New York, it was followed by a panel interview hosted by "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams" with Larry David and cast. They had a captive audience. One of the topics was the concept of "social assasins". People who call a spade a shovel, who (albeit unconsciously) hold without thinking, non-politically correct views.

This was appropos of the sneak-previewed episode, "Palestinian Chicken" where Larry is accused of being a "social assassin" when he criticizes the wife of a friend who verbally, audibly says 'LoL' instead of just laughing.

I remembered my mother at a party I'd organized. A reunion of sorts between her, my mum, and her best friend. They'd parted ways a decade or so back, and I and the best-friend's daughter had organized a "reunion" at my house in Melbourne.

Shades of "Palestinian Chicken" - Mosque Demo
The reunion party was in full-swing when my mother and old-friend Norma arrived. By cab. They were bickering. Not so odd for old friends, but my mother, after paying an inflated fare, complained to the driver in no uncertain terms. The "best friend", who wore her left-wing heart on her Gucci sleeve had, according to both of them, turned on my mother, telling her she was a "social fascist". A reverse snobbery. Somehow the cab driver was out of bounds - immune from criticism by virtue of his being a member of the working class.

Well, the 'social fascist' remark got several laughs from the party animals, but I remembered at the time thinking, how unfair.

What's in a word?

Sometimes I think words are being re-cycled. Fitting. Green words!

Look at this...

What is it? A jumper (sweater USA) with an outside pocket.

Now for some reason - I forget why - a few months ago I looked up the definition of "pocket" and discovered that the "pocket" was invented a hundred years or so ago, as a bag- or envelope-like receptacle inserted underneath an article of clothing close to the body and used to hold small items. To access the "pocket" the outer clothing had to be bunched up, and this was obviously inconvenient. Eventually some bright soul had the idea to make a slit in the outer-wear to allow for easy access. Still later another bright spark had another idea - the outer sides of the bag were attached to the sides of the slit - and so we had the "pocket".

Time passes and no doubt the advances of 200 hundred years ago are now forgotten. A designer here in New York has stepped back centuries to come upon the idea of reversing the trend and putting pockets back as separate, unattached items, although on the outer side of the outer garments. Which just goes to show, that ...

"If it wasn't for pick-pockets I'd have no sex life at all." - Rodney Dangerfield.

Not really, but it was the closest pocket quote I could find!

Very very very occasionally I have occasion to read a dead tree book, and recently, while reading one, I come across a word, a word that neither Book Slut or Mr. Dental Floss had uncovered. I'm reading "People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman" not available in Kindle. It's set in Japan. I read about the word "jikokenjiyoku" which apparently means "the wish to expose oneself and have the self-exposure well received". And yes, the context is sexual.

Now who was it said, "In the beginning was the word"????

1 comment:

terrywchina said...

Perhaps you should ask our friend Pat for his interpretation of "jikokenjiyoku"

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