Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flaunt and Take to Dinner

And by all means, please check out the debut installment of my new column at the Independent, Five-Dollar Words. It's, um, about words. Expect etymology up the ass.


  1. Anonymous2:46 PM

    it pleasures me to know you are getting paid for this

  2. Isn't bachelorette the female form of bachelor? I'd assume the male equivalent of spinster to be something more akin to... cuckold, or something. Hm.

  3. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Congrats on the column. Bri's a TA. I'm jealous of you writerly types, making something of yourselves.

  4. Two things:

    1. The Italian word for left is "sinistra." I don't know what peculiar dialect you pulled "manchino" from, but its definitely not standard Italian.

    2. I think a better use of your "lack-of-similarity-in-words-for-left"
    theory would be to use some historical context to take it right along side your gender-bias theory. Did you know, for instance, in medieval heraldry, if two families of equal rank married, the woman's family crest would be placed on the left side of the newly-formed unified crest, while the man's would be placed on the right? I think this factoid patterns in to the long-standing tradition that words for the feminine, and all things feminine, are less worthy, less trust-worthy and altogether

  5. thank you all for expressing an interest in my column. the four columns here made for a whopping four more than the column itself got on so yay that. i'm apparently better at generating interest here than i am on the site i get paid to work on.

    i will now address your concerns in the order of posted:

    1) Daniel: Thanks, I get a kick out of this too. Which Daniel are you? Also, stop talking about pleasuring yourself.

    2)Sanam: Oh my god, Sanam, I hope you're kidding, about the spinster/cuckold thing anyway. Yes, there's technically the more recent coinage "bachelorette," but i honestly can't say I I hear that word spoken very often outside of the context of "bachelorette party." Historically, the word for a woman who has not married -- especially an older women -- is "spinster," and I'm not about an 80-year-old never-married woman a "bachelorette," because I feel like bachelorettes have to be young, at least show the word is used. In New Zealand, the legal classification for unmarried people over 35 was until very recently "spinster" and "bachelor." Also, Spencer says the girl of "cuckold" is "cuckquean," which is probably the ugliest word I've heard in a while.

    3) Meg: If it makes you feel any better, I've been spending all my writer money on blow and leather pants.

    4) Stevi: I don't speak Italian, and "mancino" may have been an outdated or otherwise non-standard word, but it is an Italian word meaning "left," at least according to some people.

    As for the heraldry thing, I didn't know that and I'm actually surprised medieval types would have given any regard to the woman's crest. But I also feel that in the context of my article I had to give a little more proof that the good-bad pairs are a pattern, and that that pattern ends up making the perceived lesser the worse one. If not for that, I probably wouldn't have even mentioned the whole left-right thing. I just think it's a good example.