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OUR LIVING LANGUAGE

Thanks to Kaya Genç, who recently sent along Sam Leith’s review of Michael Moore’s new book, with the following note:

Look at the last sentence of the essay! That’s even stronger than ”douchebag“, right?

I think it is!

I quite enjoyed Leith’s review, which includes both bumf and a put-down of the Vietnam short-story in favor of Hegelianism:

Like a short-story writer (rather than, say, a left-wing historian), Moore sees history advancing through personal epiphanies and turning points. Nixon’s behaviour in Vietnam, for instance, acts on the nation like original sin: “We lost our moral compass with him and we’ve never gotten it back … Before Nixon there was so much hope. Since Nixon we have known only the Permanent War.”

When I checked out some more of Leith’s work, I was really pleased to learn yet another new word: wilfing. Desultory reader! may this not be how you reached these pages!

THE MAGIC OF LANGUAGE

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7 Responses to “OUR LIVING LANGUAGE”

  1. Larry Specht Says:

    Leith’s review was brutal and accurate. Even though Moore is on “our” side, he really can be a horse’s ass. I’m not sure I would call him a “douch-nozzle”, however, and I wouldn’t use the hyphen.

  2. Geoff Roberts Says:

    Good Morning Elif, just to show how often you are in my thoughts, I read this in the Guardian this morning and immediateky thought of you! It’s an interview with Claire Tomalin who has just finished a biography on Dickens.
    “But it’s also that writing induces melancholy. It is lonely. You’re alone, alone, alone, a hermit, an absolutely intolerable person, and then you finish, and what’s coming towards you is talking, talking, talking. I’m in a misery thinking about it.”

  3. Elif Says:

    Dear Larry, my thoughts were very similar, and included some uncertainty about the hyphen. I guess we have to wait until douche-nozzles become as commonly encountered as orang-utans. Dear Geoff, that quote speaks directly to my soul. “I’m in a misery thinking about it!”

  4. Geoff Roberts Says:

    Good morning, Elif,
    as ever, searching for ways to make your day a tad better – here is a comment I came across on a blog. How about ditz-bag.? Any idea how this relates semantically to the douchebag ?

  5. Tamayn Irraniah Says:

    Actually, this brings me to a question that I’ve never really gotten to broach outside of my family and a few close friends. How exactly does one separate between the classifications of the family of douche- words? Furthermore, is douchebag a subset of asshole?

    My brother and I always end up on opposite ends of the spectrum. Although we both agree that douche- family words are in the subset of the ass- family, he believes that douchebags are intentional, while assholes are unintentional. I believe the inverse.

    He also rejects the use of douche nozzle and one that I heard recently that doesn’t entirely make sense to me, but it’s too much fun not to say; douche canoe. I am of the opinion that douche nozzle is a more directed form of douchebaggery, as a nozzle is something that directs the flow of water.

    Then of course, there’s the discussion of what constitutes asshattery versus douchebaggery, and where the line is drawn before we reach full on fuckery.

    Thank you for posting about the douche- family of words, because I have been aching to discuss this!

  6. Sean Carman Says:

    Thanks for this! Mark Leith is a delight. Have you read his novel? Is it even possible that such a wonderful columnist could write a novel that’s not fantastic?

  7. Sean Carman Says:

    Er, um, Sam Leith. Don’t know why I called him Mark.

    But then maybe he has a brother Mark, who is also a delight?

    In any case, apologies to Mr. Leith.

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