Are we in a new era of word coinage? Bill Morris, who publishes on-line at The Millions, thinks so. He offers “fracking,” “illliquid,” and “repurpose” among other coinages. In the following excerpt, “relateable” is a new coinage in the context of a story’s main character. It’s particularly relevant to writers concerned with how readers might respond to an “unsympathetic” (i.e., bad-ass) protagonist.
“THE DEBASED ART OF COINING WORDS: A GLOSSARY”
by Bill Morris
“Relateable – A character in a novel or movie who has qualities that readers or viewers can easily recognize, identify with, and embrace. It’s a barometer of our culture’s watery values when the highest praise for a fictional character is that he or she is familiar, unthreatening, and easy to like. It reduces novels and movies to the level of a high school popularity contest, and it goes a long way toward explaining why so few Americans travel to remote, exotic, difficult locales. What ever happened to the glories of the unfamiliar, the discomfiting, and the odious? I’m thinking specifically about John Self, the scabrous, lecherous, loathsome – and hilarious – protagonist of Martin Amis’s best novel, Money [a Suicide Note]. He’s loveable precisely because he’s so…I hate to say it…he’s so gloriously unrelateable.”
The full article is interesting and funny, not too long, and worth a tumble.
Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil’s Dictionary (1914), defined Justice as a “commodity.” He might just as well have called it a “comedy,” as in a comedy of errors, particularly the kind of justice observable in the democracy of his time through ours, and on, apparently, into the future.
Yes, justice is a commodity because it is bought and sold. (Anyone who requires examples has been living in a cave with an ostrich.) Which makes of justice a comedy because it is a ludicrous rendition of it’s original home among its siblings: fairness, fair play, fair-mindedness, equity, even-handedness, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality, disinterestedness, honesty, righteousness, and morality.
Will this ever change? Doubtful, but the name of Justice should be changed to something like, ummm, Marketice, or perhaps Commodice. Any ideas out there in the land of people who like honest words?
I am so fed-up with computer-type crap, such as failures and glitches and GOTCHAS (my name for so-called easy to add-on and use programs and apps which take endless hours to either get working or get rid of). They tap-tap-tap my furious button to the point where, if I add/change anything, I’m just waiting for something to go wrong that will cost me dearly in time, money, and hair follicles.
When I watch pre-1980 movies, my nostalgia-gene homes in on the absence of computers, cell-phones, the WWW.HTTP.XYZ, etc. Yeah-yeah, without personal computers we wouldn’t be able to clabgerate the folderoll and other neat things humanity never thought of doing until Hi-Tech showed us what we could do, even if we didn’t want to, but we should because everyone else is, and you don’t want to get left behind, heaven forfend.
Life would be calmer and more enjoyable without all this computer stuff (originally flogged as a time-saving devise, ha-ha), though I’d be back to the old carbon copy and white-out routine—Does anyone under 25 even know what that was?— which I could still do, of course, although the world would pay even less attention to me than it does now. Oh, woe am I.
Please don’t call me Luddite; I prefer Chaplinesque.
Anyway, that’s how I feel this first Sunday in August.
How do you handle computer/software/cloud woes?