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09-1-2016 16:07:19  #1

On the fecundity of English

In a different thread...

KatLondon wrote:

...a slapdash solipsism... 

I am continually surprised that after using the English language all my life I still regularly run across not just short phrases, but sometimes even arresting word pairs that I am confident I have never seen before! I suspect most solipsism is slapdash - for example the man considered an intellectual among his friends who has them thinking how incredibly deep he was as he explains during a party that nothing but the self can be known to exist - and then orders out on the very firm assumption that even if the restaurant does not in fact exist the continual illusion that there was a restaurant which would bring what was assumed to be food that apparently could be ingested with pleasure - was very persistent.

I have formulated a philosophy which starts with solipsism and builds from there, but the margin is too small to contain it.

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".

09-1-2016 22:05:46  #2

Re: On the fecundity of English

Repartee wrote:

I suspect most solipsism is slapdash...

​Clearly I'm the greater cynic here. I see nothing slapdash at all about the philosophy of solipsism, nor do I understand how slapdash can be used as an adjective in this case. We are talking about early 1700s metaphysics that - if I correctly recall - are heavily intertwined with religious beliefs of the period. Just because two words have been thrown together it doesn't automatically rule out the possibility that they might be strange bedfellows. On the flipside of this, I am not a philosopher. And I've never been accused of being an intellectual, so it's very possible that the whole thing is just over my head.

09-1-2016 22:49:11  #3

Re: On the fecundity of English

I don't think you have to be an 'intellectual' to be a philosopher - not judging by what goes on in universities, anyway.

My favourite definition of philosophy:  Sit next to a clear pool of water, take a stick and stir it around until the water is muddy.  Now discuss the nature of the bottom of the pool.

The juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated concepts and words is one of the joys of language, for me.  Such 'strange bedfellows' can be amusing and insightful.


10-1-2016 13:09:24  #4

Re: On the fecundity of English

Uwe wrote:

 Clearly I'm the greater cynic here. I see nothing slapdash at all about the philosophy of solipsism, nor do I understand how slapdash can be used as an adjective in this case.

If I may be so bold to interpret the interpreter, I think the point of KatLondon's oxymoron was her general dismissal of hipsters, who might wear bits of fashionable philosophy they way they wear random bits of vintage clothing - assuming that is what hipsters wear, since I have never seen one.

And I've never been accused of being an intellectual, so it's very possible that the whole thing is just over my head.

I accuse you of being an intellectual! Your profound and scholarly knowledge of typewriters suffices!

   Some men are poets and do not know it,
   Others intellectual to themselves not perceptual.
   Me I write free-verse blank doggerel,
   Whether intellect I'm circumspect,
   Perhaps some mongrel dotterel.


"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
     Thread Starter

13-1-2016 12:35:16  #5

Re: On the fecundity of English

'Slapdash' can apply to anything, surely. It's an adjective about an attitude... I wouldn't glorify the hipsters en masse with a philosophy - though as I write about them I realise they are many things, and you can't tar all of them with only one particular brush.

My point was more about how they move into neighbourhoods, begin a process of gentrification that alienates the (often poorer, often less white and middle class) locals, open trendy overpriced coffee shops and bars and vintage clothing shops that, in some cases, drive existing cafes out of business because the locals are leaving, and so on and so forth. Then before you know it the neighbourhood is useless for anything useful or reasonably cheap.

And they have no sense of humour.

I'm not trying to be intellectually rigorous here, nor am I speaking philosophically or even globally. Your hipsters might be different from my hipsters. But mine are bloody entitled and up themselves and annoying. Call it prejudice if you will! 

And it's a real shame. 

Having said which, I'm sure some are nice. My next-door neighbour, a guy in his lateish 30s with a wife and baby, who works in the creative industries has transmogrified over the past few years into a hipster, but he's still nice. And he sold his mum's old Lettera 32 - so he's not THAT kind of hipster. ;)


14-1-2016 01:47:56  #6

Re: On the fecundity of English

This thread, as is the privilege of threads, seems to have transmogrified into one about hipsters from one about English. Is "transmogrified" one of those pseudo words like "transpired", at least when it refers to something other than the evaporation of water out of plant pores? All is vanity. Gentrification is a word having a midlife crisis while hipster is both old and new, and sounds to me like rewarmed 1960's. We used to call them yuppies, but as I said, all is vanity and inverse vanity, for if the new kids want to be cool by hanging out at the new cafes and bars which were not the previous and somehow more real manifestation of the human fabric, some intellectual will affect that his even cooler counter snobbery is that he hangs out with and is accepted by the old locals. Stephen Jay Gould is who I am thinking of, and when I could not remember his name "Harvard biologist essayist" got him on the first hit - Google is good that way sometimes if you can just capture the cultural homonucleus of the person - like "lazy eyed black actor" for Forest Whitaker - also a first hit when you just can't place him.

I was gentrified out of my neighborhood and I AM educated and white, my neighborhood being Manhattan in which I grew up to the certified last lower middle class family, between the rich and the poor, and did not realize that I really was in the center of the universe until I somehow found myself exiled to Brooklyn when I found there is no substance to the idea that you somehow will always be able to live in the small town you grew up in, and when I go back today I find the place full of what you might call hipsters which have absolutely nothing to do with me, though the streets and buildings look very much the same. At least they had the good taste to realize there was something good there that they wanted to be a part of, but not the sense - which indeed nobody has until analysis after the fact - to grok that by descending in droves they drove the very soul out of the place, like the realtors who destroyed the old NY Penn Station and (the thought is not mine) ironically destroyed the very thing in the neighborhood which made it desirable, replacing it by that ugly pile known as Madison Square Garden, the fourth or so of that name and the ugliest. But the biggest. But Manhattan has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, so whom am I to say that my particular experience was the one which must be preserved, when so many experiences have perished before mine and will perish after? You can't go home again.

Well, this is far afield from typewriters even for off-topic. Perhaps I really will deacquisition every everything but my best SG-1 and one spare - which I have not bought yet - well, maybe just a FEW other machines which seem to have some special personality... no more than five. But as devil's advocate, I have to say it really was possible to compose this bit of gibber far faster on a computer keyboard than any typing job I am likely to be capable of. Maybe a typewriter is more of an ideal, an icon (a fetish?). The best way to write quickly might be to get out a keyboard and think of typewriters! But I am very glad to have made the acquaintance of the SG-1, and a particular jalopy-like Royal centenarian which just does not seem to know it is beaten, and continues to produce even and legible pica though everything about it seems loose and crazed. Some bit of world soul must be expressed in that thing - the more amazing since from certain lights the four glass windows seems to open on a hollow interior, with nothing but an invisible genie inside to hold it together. How did they get the genies inside? There is more than one lost art to typewriter manufacture.

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
     Thread Starter

14-1-2016 03:51:41  #7

Re: On the fecundity of English



14-1-2016 10:52:48  #8

Re: On the fecundity of English

Apologies to Pogo.....

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the typewriter."

14-1-2016 11:27:45  #9

Re: On the fecundity of English

Well, I suppose it's time I owned up; I don't know what people mean when they say 'hipster'.  Is it American for something the rest of us call something else, or a new beast?


06-3-2016 17:24:44  #10

Re: On the fecundity of English

The heading reads, "On the Fecundity of English."  From the first thread, I take it to mean the fruitfulness and ongoing expansion of the English language and not the hardiness and the prolific nature of the English (who, as you know, have admirably fought in World War II, and have rebuilt since then.  Though, perhaps not completely, but they have proven how resilient a people they are).  I digress.  Anyhoo, I would say that our language grows everyday, not only because the times change and words get added just within our own nation, but also others of other nations bring their own languages and those languages' evolutions, dialects and subtongues.  Pretty soon, you could find eleventy-million and one ways to say, "It's raining," or "I love you."  Wouldn't it be a nice thing to be able to do the latter in so many different ways with our growing and expanding language?!

Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness

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