Monday, 29 November 2010

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It suddenly occured to me that although I live in Portsmouth, I have no idea of how to get anywhere within it. Fratton, North End, Southsea and the rest are a series of separate orbs in which I find myself occasionally, with no idea of how they relate to eachother. It is extremely unsettling that, were I to suddenly need to travel to Paulsgrove, I simply wouldn't have the capacity.
Dull news everyone! Kate Middleton and Prince William are getting married! A week or so after it was announced and vapid little newsflashes about it are still occupying prime BBC News positions. Apparently people care that the date has been set - it's April 29th, by the way. How interesting: I have just been informed by the Daily Mail that courtiers would have particularly liked a summer date due to fears of inclement weather, yet Kate and Prince have insisted on spring - that fiesty pair! Even my trusty Guardian reports the same story.
Also in the news is some trivial crap a boy who was raised a girl, something about the Pope and condoms, some inconsequential chatter about a Korean artillery clash - but KATE MIDDLETON AND PRINCE WILLIAM ARE GETTING MARRIED!
There was a comment recently about the word pulchritudinous, featured in my last post. After being told it could only be used to describe literature, I decided to investigate. I have scoured the whole internet, even the likes of Yahoo Answers and Wikianswers (depressing glimpses into our deserted post-apocalyptic future), and found no sign that this is true. In fact, the centre of all knowledge, commonly referred to as Dictionary.com, defined it as 'formal , literary or physical beauty.' It is a sign of our internet dominated world that my last step was to pick up some dictionary we seem to have in our house. It simply defined 'pulchritude' as beauty - no mention that it was literature specific. It is derived from the Latin 'pulcher' for beauty, and I only say this to make myself look more intelligent. So unless some pathetic 'english scholars' have recently decided by some strange etymological loophole that pulchritudinous can only be used to describe literature, then this is simply not true.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Stunningly pulchritudinous

We're in dire need of a new superlative. 'Fabulous' was abolished long ago, in the 90s or some decade equally horrible. Now it inhabits only the conversation of homosexuals, or other extreme stereotypes in the fashion industry. There was a grotesque period in which 'stunning' was used. Using 'Bebo' as its vehicle, it went from mainly frequenting the vocabulary of chavs to penetrating like a vile poison into the mouths of ordinary people. It also produced the lovely derivative 'stunnah,' which was an important accolade for any self conscious and vanity plagued pre-teenager. Often used to make ugly people feel better about the disgusting picture of them posing into a tiny bathroom mirror - the flash of their camera obscuring everything except some beady eyes and fat rolls - it was probably the most fraudulently used noun there has ever been.
At the moment the latest successor is 'amazing.' The nice 'A' vowel allows the second syllable to be drawn out as long as necessary, depending on how obnoxious and intolerable one happens to be. 'Amazing' is incredibly flexible: it can be used to describe a personal appearance, a piece of written work, an item of clothing, a recently watched film, an experience, and about 64 other things. I have a feeling, though, that its reign is coming to an end: you can practically hear people's crushing inward misery when they have stooped low enough to use it. Without a doubt, 'amazing's' fate was sealed after it appeared in that sickeningly awful Bruno Mars song.
This of course means that society needs a new superlative: a new word that seems to top all the others before it. A new word that can convey just how happy and warm you feel about something. A new word that we can vomit out in desperation when all other vocabulary has failed us.
We could play it safe with 'wonderful,' 'brilliant,' and 'fantastic.' Perhaps go retro with 'stupendous,' 'peachy,' and 'terrific.' But I think we are ready to reach the highs of 'tremendous,' 'magnificent' and 'wondrous.' Maybe even 'walloping.'
The best idea would be to have a different superlative for each situation. When complimenting a picture, use 'sensational.' For comically ugly pictures, try 'pulchritudinous,' because although it means beautiful it's one of the ugliest words available to you. A particularly memorable party can be 'laudable' and someone's shit poem can be 'transcendant.'

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Why Jane Austen is shit

Her sentences last a paragraph each and her story lines are incredibly predictable. Yet we can't stop dribbling on about her brilliance and seem to be compulsively awarding her accolades.
Bit of meta-reporting here: 'Professor Kathryn Sutherland of Oxford University' studied shedloads of original handwritten pages of Jane Austen and decided that her critically acclaimed 'perfect style' was the work of her editor. Who, unfortunately for feminists, was a male.
This of course brings me to a couple of conclusions.
a) If she is 'widely regarded as a supreme stylist' and 'a writer of perfectly polished sentences,' as the BBC article I'm reading states, then everyone in the world is wrong except me. I become extremely confused when I'm halfway through Northanger Abbey and still on the first sentence. How can a good writer be one that creates the necessity for one to read the same sentence 4 times to make sense of it? In fact, I am going to continue this post in true Jane Austen style.
b) Rather due to the fact, which may indeed actually excite the feminists, that Jane Austen's style is due to her male editor, then, we can be assured that her own particular style may not have been so inclined to puzzle: perhaps she is a good writer after all, so I should not criticise her good name; the article reports that in fact her original handwritten scripts had a more finely crafted dialogue, in which case I feel she has been hugely misrepresented for all these years, and I only wish I had read the handwritten version of Pride and Prejudice, rather than killing my brain trying to tackle the edited cryptic one.
c) Despite this, it pains me to say, nothing can change the unfortunate simplistic and predictable story lines that Miss Austen employs.