Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bludgeoning 'Bespoke' Beyond Bearableness

Welcome, dear perspicacious cognoscenti !

.......Or, to put it more simply: Howdy to you acutely perceptive and informed people who have a great appreciation for my daily bloggings.

If only everything that was written (or spoken about, especially during some movie review shows on TV) was this easy to understand.

First thing in the morning, when my darling daughter has 'Lilo and Stitch' blasting away on the DVD, Love Chunks is clattering around in the kitchen and my face has yet to unfold from its slumber; I am struggling to read the four-inch-high headlines on the front page, let alone attempting to decipher what Congruent, Exiguous or Pusilanimous mean.

If I could be bothered at that time of the morning (7am on a Sunday, usually) to stagger to the bookshelf and open up the Macquarie, I'd discover that they mean - in order of mention: agreeing; scanty or meagre; and cowardly. I believe that it is rather too quixotic of some of those poncy reviewers and columnists to assume that us tired parents in the 'burbs have the energy to expand our brains to that level of thinking.

Quixotic, by the way, is rather appropriate. It translates as having an unrealistically optimistic approach to life. Kind of like those over-paid, over-publicised quasi-famous columnists who are only in the paper because they married - or divorced - well or got invited to a D-lister's shotgun nuptuals. Oh dear, I'm starting to catch on to this trend, aren't I - somehow quasi found it's way in there; and it was either that or 'psuedo' which seems to be going out of fashion as quickly as the foodies' once-hallowed nouvelle cuisine, followed by fusion, and Pacific Rim.

Pastiche was another one favoured by critics; especially loved by those funny old fighting farts Margaret and David from the movie show. Whilst it means a work of art (ie movie) that mixes styles and materials, we ourselves would normally walk out of a cinema and comment something like: "Geez he doesn't half want to be Quentin Tarantino, does he?"

Ubiquitous has been an 'in' word for a few years now. Angelina Jolie is ubiquitous, or everywhere, right now. In the gossip magazines, shagging Brad, adopting kiddies, squeezing out some twins, attending movie premieres in designer dresses, visiting world hot spots and getting herself tattooed in third world countries. Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and Lyndsey Lohan unfortunately represent the zeitgeist of 2008. Yes, that means they symbolise the spirit or attitude of our times. To be an orange magic-tanned, blonded bag of bones wearing silver dental floss is what, in 2008, is considered newsworthy and worth paying for.

Being ulotrichous, on the other hand, is not. Curly hair these days needs to be straightened. Nicole Kidman, the poor old piece of long white chalk, has to iron her hair flat to ensure that her appearance continues to give us onlookers the frisson of delight we expect and for her reviews to be efficacious.

Now normally I'm fairly obdurate, or hard-hearted when it comes to celebrities and the pampered and cossetted world in which they find themselves. However, annoying words are not merely saved for movie reviews, but also for the - gulp - work environment. All through 2004 I had the word 'milieu' shoved down my throat. I guess the consultant that my then-employer had paid megabucks for thought that saying 'group' or 'setting' was not as glamorous as dragging out a French word and we were meant to be bowled over by her brainy brilliance. Sadly for her, it provoked an invidious reaction by myself and my colleagues - we hated it and hated her. Her beyond-even-the-bad-buzzwords approach to selling her ideas led me to cacchinate (laugh loudly) at the most inappropriate moments, making it extremely obvious the dissimilitude between us. If only she'd bothered to summarise her findings in plain english instead of announcing that she was about to adumbrate her recommendations. It was not without a small amount of pleasure to notice that, later, when I looked up 'adumbrate' in the dictionary, the word 'dumb' was smack-bang in the middle of it.

Still, what does the consultant care? She leads a peripatetic existence travelling from one project and company to another, so she's cashed her princely pay cheque and is long gone before the excrement hits the cooling device. All I can wish for her is that she catches pertussis (whooping cough) and has to sleep with a stertorous (heavy snorer) partner every night. The last thing we need is for jargon-spouting suckheads like her to achieve total hegemony over our working lives.
As for you, dear reader, I hope that my heuristic intentions have helped you learn something - big words don't necessarily mean big brain, or big points to make. We little people have to stick to our guns - We think, therefore we Are. That's good enough for me.


franzy said...

Boo! Booooo!
Long live long words and complex meanings!
Down with simplification!
Down with Tall Poppy Syndrome!
Hooray for dictionaries!

River said...

Oooh! B-I-G W-O-R-D-S. Me impressed.

However I'm not impressed by people who fill their sentences with such words knowing full well that some (or most) of the people they're speaking to don't understand the meanings. We have to guess our way to understanding by listening to the rest of the sentence and fitting in whatever word seems appropriate to the subject.
Had to get out my own Macquarie to look up "heuristic".

Kath Lockett said...

Franzy - don't you remember one of your Single Sentence jobbies - dictionaries should only be used to smell or sniff off, not to be endlessly flicked through when we want to be entertained or get a brief update on world events....

River, I had to look up 'heuristic' too. I'll admit, however, that 'Pusilanimous' has been one of my most favourite words since finding out what it meant during year 10 when I had to say it in a stage play.

franzy said...

I don't recall dissing dictionaries ... maybe someone hacked my site ...

If it weren't for dictionaries my family wouldn't be as close knit as we are. Many a night has Mele looked on in horror as voices are raised and faces reddened over definitions, spellings and roots ...
The squinty-eyed handshakes which were gripped across the kitchen table after we discovered that the word 'automated' actually fulfilled the argued definitions of both generations were as meaningful as oil region peace accords.

Miles McClagan said...

I need to learn some big words, the biggest word I know is "Narcolepsy"

Or is it Noiseworks? I'm not sure...

Kath Lockett said...

Franzy, your family fights sound a bit like ours. When the board game 'Balderdash' came out, we were hooked for years - trying to work out which was the real meaning of an obscure word and in delighting in writing up our own word that sounded as though it too belonged in a dictionary.

Come to think of it, even the relatively harmless game 'Scattergories' got rather heated at times.

Miles, you're brilliant. Short and sweet comments here, long and hilarious posts on your own blog.

Stay tuned for tomorrow - it's MY turn to write about a song. Ooooh dear, will it be something from the eighties????

tomshideaway said...

Perhaps by using all these BIG WORDS you will set a new paradigm for blogging, I tend to use words that are more diminutive, thereby trying to appeal to all my readers. I use a copious amount of pictures too !!

cube said...

You are a word nerd. I love it!

Anonymous said...

Never use a big word when a diminuative one will do.

Baino said...

Well you learn something every day. I had no idea I was ulotrichous. We occasionally play a dictionary game where you choose some obscure word and the winner is the one with the most 'plausible' definition rather than the right one! Plain speaker/writer myself I have no literaery fecundity. As Disraeli would say, one can become inebriated with the exhuberance of their own verbosity.

Melanie Myers said...

Really like this one, Kath. I'm slowly catching up on all the posts I've missed. Might need to set aside a Sunday afternoon for 'the blurb' though, you've been prolific, for sure :-)