Just in case there are any serene, unruffle-able people out there who have no idea what last week's experience of fury/pounding the pavement feels like, here is something I guarantee will at least make your pulse quicken... cuz it sure makes MY blood boil! :) So, I spend lots of hours each week reading scholarly articles: art reviews, biographies, art theory, museum theory, political arguments, but mostly art reviews. Sooooo many smart people delivering their well-crafted, fanciful-sounding opinions. When I'm in a good mood (and when they're my style of writer), I enjoy their words, and credit this fraction of my week to "Improving My Education." Sometimes, though, when I'm in a bad mood or they are just outrageous writers, I get a little angry. And sometimes, I'm pretty sure I am just reading pages and pages whose main purpose in life is to ooze the subliminal statement, "BEHOLD! I AM SMARTER THAN YOU."
A particular way this happens is through vocabulary. Now, I consider myself an intelligent girl, maybe even above average intelligence. But I've already been humbled once this year by the GRE's staggering amount of multisyllabic words and mathematical trickery (for all those that wanted to know, my score was not what I hoped for, but it'll have to do. Man was that a bum way to spend Valentine's Day. But at least it was memorable! ) No, but it's very irritating to have to stop at least three times an article and hit up dictionary.com in order to understand a sentence and keep mental track of the author's intent.
On my work computer is a little secret notepad document of all the words I have to look up. The following is that list... and it's only three weeks old. This is the language of the world I work in- tell me you don't feel slightly belittled and maybe even a tad angry after reading this list. (And for all you wordy people out there that recognize a large percentage of these words, please pat yourself on the back and skip ahead. And any SANE person who knows NONE of these words, tell me about it. I'll send you a prize. You and me both, man.) PS The ones with definitions are the ones I saw more than once and had forgotten the first time. PPS After three weeks of fury, I've decided that the most fun to get out of these words, besides using them later to impress people, is trying to pronounce them. "Jalousied" feels like kissing but without another person... Ahem...
Afflatus: an impelling mental force acting from within
Anxiety of influence- poets having to deal with predecessors
Apotropaic- intended to ward off evil
Belligerent- war-like, bellicose, hostile
Bricolage- construction made of whatever diverse materials are at hand
Concatenation- connection, as through a chain
Consignment- Profit model for mainstream art dealers
Cupidity- greed, avarice, excessive desire
Deadpan- expressing no emotion while delivering humor
Demur- Make an objection
Fete (verb)- to entertain at or honor with a party
Fey- fated to die, unnaturally high spirits (as before death), whimsical, otherworldly
Gestalt- a unified whole
Labile- apt or likely to change
Memento mori- object kept to remind one of death, i.e. a skull
NOPE KEEP GOING.... That's right. ALL of these I came across in my everyday readings...
Mordant- caustic, sarcastic, corrosive, dyeing
Penumbra- shadowy, marginal area
Sadist- gratification through causing pain to others- compare to masochist (pain to self)
Solipsism- the theory that only the self exists, egoistic self-absorption
Torsade- an ornamental twist, as of velvet
There are 51 of them at this time. 13 of them are highlighted as spelling errors by the spell-checker. My favorite is Chthonian (it means pertaining to the spirits under the earth.) I've decided that I might be able to give the intellectuals a tiny break; after all, their livelihoods-- and probably a few of their identities as human beings-- hinge on their ability to describe art and life better than anyone else in the business. Naturally, they are highly proficient verbal acrobats.
Enough vocab. I have had probably the busiest week and a half of my life these past 10 days, and I STILL haven't gotten a chance to recoup the lost hours of sleep. But I'm at work now and have no time to do my adventures their full justice. You'll have to check back later on in the week, but I promise I'll write them. Otherwise my mom's head might explode :) These adventures include the opening of the Bourgeois exhibit, with one or two major surprises attached, a blast from the BYU past, a little vignette of the American democratic system.... through the eyes of a blind citizen, and plenty of other delightful encounters with this crazy city and its bizarre, unpredictable populace. I'll be back.