Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 266
Greetings Dana fans, elitists, and mongers with hanging nose boogers and toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Dana's army looks beyond mere surface stuff and we know you have jai dee up the ying yang. Today two things to think about. Who loves you baby?
Last night I was lying in bed reading The New Industrial State by John Kenneth Galbraith. Not John Galbraith or J. Galbraith or even JKG, but John Kenneth Galbraith; the full author name treatment. Hey, I think this guy might be onto something with this big name thing. If I ever publish a book maybe I'll list my name as Dana Kenneth Danabraith. Looks more important.
Anyway, last night I was lyin' in bed trying to hold up The New Industrial State. I had cut off the front and the back covers to reduce weight, and torn the binding into two pieces to further reduce weight, but it is still a heavy book. And you know one thing: if I was in bed trying to read this book there was no girl around and no porno around either. It was either this book, or suicide by ennui.
This book is like wrestling with a mountain lion that is on amphetamines. You know you are not going to win. Example this:
"The accepted sequence also raises barriers against a wide range of social action which, though in fact inconvenient to organization, specifically to the technostructure, is held by the theory to be inimical to this maximization of satisfaction by the individual."
Ok, Stickmanites, Dana fans, elitists, and mongers: Two questions:
1. Do I want to meet any human who can comprehend this at first go without having to reread and re-reread?
2. And — a woman married this guy?
But wait, there is more (less). Try this puppy out:
"Again none of these contentions survive the revised sequence. There is no case for subordinating the lesser liberty of the organization man to the greater liberty of the consumer unless that latter liberty exists. If that has already been subordinated to organization, the argument lapses."
A woman married this guy? Ok, that's her problem. Anyway, about this time (3:08 a.m.) I began to think John (I call him John) was no party animal. I may be as slow as a seventy year old monger dribbler but eventually I catch on. Harvard University paid him to say things like this and Harvard students wrote these things down. No wonder I am happy to be me. But then he surprised me with the kind of thing that makes you wonder if one of you has popped too many Quaaludes and seen too many surfer films. To wit (dude):
"Since all the relevant groups affirm the importance of free markets in principle, while needing control in practice, the solution has been to impose control in practice while affirming the commitment to free markets in principle."
Ok, time out. No matter how many times I deconstructed and then reconstructed this sentence I just could not be 100% sure John (I call him John) was not having us on. Finally, I just ended up laughing. Now he had me. But I also had him. This guy was a party animal disguised as an economist. And sure enough, the party animal proof came on page one of Chapter XXII — The Control of the Wage-Price Spiral when he said:
"Men of conservative temperament have long suspected that one thing leads to another."
Now this is just fall down funny. And it is also in my opinion an example of excellent writing because in one short sentence he has managed to include irony, humor, cynicism, social observation, cutting remark, bone marrow snobbery, and a clever baiting lead in to his chapter The Control of the Wage-Price Spiral. My theory is that by this time in the book he realized it was in for a penny–in for a pound, and he was getting tired of eating the sandwich. Mental crisis can lead to funny stuff.
So now I have a goal in learning to speak, and in learning to read Thai. Someday I want to be able to read Thai so fluently that gems like this will not slip through my farang fingers as I sift through tonal and R/L sands. I believe there are some Thais this funny and this smart. I would like to read them and I would like to meet them. Come on Thailand, don't let me down. Show me your John Kenneth Galbraiths.
Men of monger temperment have long suspected that one thing leads to another.
Dana Kenneth Danabraith
But this is not really what I want to talk about today. What I really want to talk about today is a:
And now for something completely different Thailandstoryites, Dana fans, and word mavens. To wit: from the Around the Campfire Lectures, vol. III, article IX, paragraph VI — by Dana.
Much is made of learning new words to increase erudition. If you want to shag the girl with the glasses and the lisp at the teaching fellows end-of-semester party you better have some kick ass fancy words on the tip of your tongue. Hey, I'm just tellin' what I know and if there is one thing I know it is the rarified world of the useless wimps with more degrees than a thermometer factory. But (prepared to be amazed) I never hear anyone suggest that time could also be profitably spent identifying words of no use that should be cut out of the wildebeestian word herd.
Example: recently, while perusing (white people talking) the WordSmart Genius Edition by The Princeton Review c1995 (Random House) I stepped into the ridiculous and totally not needed literary cowplop of Absquatulate, as in (abz KWACH uh layt) or (ab SKACH uh layt) — to decamp. In other words the word means to decamp (sort of). Read on.
"This Americanism, a combination of the root "abs" (off, away from), "squat" (to sit in, slang), and "ulate" (like in speculate of gratulate), is a humorous way of saying to break camp, to unsquat (so to speak). It is slang, but an effective way of expressing a deliberate exit–as in: Disturbed by our shouting, the enormous buffalo sleepily raised its head and began to 'absquatulate' into the wilderness."
Which brings to mind: are some of these word dweebs on crack? Humorous? I don't care how many Essan buffalo stories you hear you are never going to hear the word absquatulate. There isn't enough whiskey in Essan for this to happen. Anyway, I nominate the above as an example of a word that our language (or any other language) does not need. In fact, I doubt if I will ever see this word in the rest of my reading life.
Perhaps it would be instructively fun on the Thaistory website to once per month nominate three silly words that by conservatively reductive attention would improve the language by their leaving same.
There is sometimes no accounting for reality. For example: in the self-same WordSmart Genius Edition by Random House (How To Build An Erudite Vocabulary) I see no entry for:
Danafy: v. (DAY nuh fie) — to deify a small white monger.
Like a feather singed thrush exiting a burning barn you would think some things would just call attention to themselves and Danafy would be in the book on words that would be handy to know if you want to bag and shag girls with glasses.
What's that ringing sound? Oh, it's the phone. Just a second.
Ok, back now–Dean Barrett was calling to ask for help with a personal problem. Anyway, he suggested that the words:
could also be eliminated from the English language. I concurred (more white people talkin'). Why these totally silly and unnecessary words are still drifting like untethered astronauts through the ether of the language is a Mystery.
Still, not on board for this? Ok, let's consider the word:
EFFLUGIANE n. or adn. (eh FLU gee in) — viscous alcoholic potion made from wheat, barley, maize, corn, tapioca, bamboo, rubber flip-flops, or rice. Example of use: Dana dipped his turgid member in efflugiane and let Wan lick it off.
Ok, I just made this word up but I like the way it looks. Heck, all words were made up; I am just continuing a tradition.
Anyway, word mavens: to summarize this essay —
Wait a minute–I hear the phone ringing again: probably Dean Barrett with another personal problem. How he gets through his days is a
It could only be Dana.