Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Society needs more Muses

Considering the sorry state of education these days, I worry about the future of creativity in America. When you see networks bringing back shows based on one-time events (e.g. - ABC and “Lost”. What, are they going to have another plane crash on the same island?), adding copycat reality television shows (e.g. “The Benefactor”, “The Contender”), and combinations of the two (e.g. a second season of “The Real Gilligan’s Island? Seriously!?), it makes me want to curl up in a little ball.

Fortunately, there are some good signs I’ve noticed recently, even if they are in somewhat unusual in their approach. First, I found a
neat-o website that sponsors a contest where anyone can submit a photoshopped version of a common picture for fun and glory. For example, look what they did with an ordinary everyday bathroom (my favorites are the one with no floor and the giant hamster). This site also appears to be the source for all those emails we all get with the funny billboards. Go figure. Anyway, go check it out…seriously…I’ll wait…See? Still here, go ahead…

My other hope lies in our society’s neverending ability to come up with new words. As many of you are aware, the dictionary is a very large book, regardless of which version you use (I prefer the King James Version ‘cuz it’s old school - words to yo' motha). The reason it’s so large is because there are so many freakin’ words already invented in English. Yet despite the fact that nobody actually knows them all yet, we still insist on adding more words. For some of us, maybe we do it to try and be famous, or because we think it can be done (like the urban legend about Richard Daly
adding the word “quiz” to English in 48 hours). I have a friend who recently tried to get me to use the term “don’t ask don’t tell” (or DADT for short) where the term meant essentially the same thing as “the laminated list”. But to her credit, she came up with her term without being aware of the laminated list. Maybe she never saw that episode of Friends, it’s possible as the friend’s still pretty young and that episode was in season 3. Her version is also shorter, and requires less contextualizing for those who don’t watch the show or are Amish (and therefore probably wouldn’t need such a word anyway, due to their high moral standards and limited celebrity exposure).

For those of you who were also young, or who don’t watch television, or
(again) are Amish – both terms refer to a short list of celebrities that each partner in a relationship is allowed to sleep with, no questions asked. I had never really assembled mine, but if I did I think it would consist of Lori Laughlin, Betty Rubble, Diane Lane, Elisha Cuthbert, and Jessica Rabbit.

Mirriam Webster just held a contest where people could vote for their favorite word that is
not in the dictionary, with “ginormous” topping the list. My personal favorite is another WillFerrellism – “scrumtrilescent”. If I could invent a word it would be “anvalt” or “gniving” – the former because it sounds cool (and therefore I could sell it as a brand name for something like a sportscar or men’s cologne) and the latter because it would work really well in palindromes. I have no idea what either of them would mean…but I figure that’ll come to me later. Maybe in a dream in which my bathroom is invaded by a huge hamster…

4 comments:

glacierman said...

Hey, can you invent/create some more "Q" words that don't use "u". My wife keeps on beating me at Scrabble. Maybe some words with "x" or "z" in them.

Spice said...

I think ginormous predates Will Ferrell, although he certainly gets credit for 'strategery.' The 'ginormous' thing is really weird in terms of how quickly it became a word that everyone uses - it's kind of like when everything became 'the shit' in the mid-90s. As far as I can tell from my quick google search, we stole ginormous from the UK.

grrrbear said...

It may be that our brothers across the pond invented the word, I think that it was Ferrell's use of the word in "Elf" that turned it into the phenomenon that we have today in the States. In that respect, I liken it to all the other pop culture icons we stole from the Brits, for instance: The Beatles, Coupling, American Idol, The Spice Girls, The Office, sketch comedy, and hooliganism at sporting events. However, I will grant that in each of these examples, the UK version was *much* better than our version (but we still have Family Guy and the Simpsons). This makes me wonder whether the word "ginormous" is even funnier over there than it is here...

Spice said...

Ah, but recall that "Coupling" was actually the Brits attempt at stealing "Friends"! And by most accounts are Idols are better than theirs.

I feel like I was using ginormous before seeing "Elf," but I could be wrong. I think the next time I start using a new word, I'm going to write it down.

Honestly, I hearing 'ginormous' with a British accent makes me giggle. For some reason I think it would take on a different tone here than there, although I can't really explain why.

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...