Wednesday, March 26, 2014

alternate definitions (III)

While reading, one of the things I like to collect are definitions―alternate, non-literal, or poetic.

Sometimes an author's words are a few steps removed from what I've fashioned out of their provisions, sometimes not. (For more on this, see my first selection of alternate definitions.)

Credits can be found at the end.

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"Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions, and the mean ones truths? Isn't it a sufficient condemnation of society to find one's self accepting such phraseology? ...I know how names can alter the colour of beliefs." ―Lawrence Selden in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (1905)

Cool: a posture which indicates that one has made all the judgments that matter in life and made them correctly; irony that has been frozen over time

Funeral: the final buttress against chaos

Grandeur: height directly proportional to how far one can fall

History: a special genre of story-telling that uses narrative to give form to ideals

Humans: technological devices invented by ancient bacterial communities as means of genetic survival

Liberal: someone who leaves the room when an argument is about to turn into a fight

Love: the byproduct of trust and joy

Mass murder: one of the inevitable side effects of technological progress

Multiculturalism: the psychopathic version of cultural pluralism

Playpen: euphemism for cage

Satisfaction: a horse people should not mount if they want to do some galloping

School: a factory for the manufacturing of credentials

Stock market: a device for measuring optimism

Television: a mindless creation that has run amok since the moment a network executive with the soul of a ribbon clerk discovered there were enormous profits to be made by paying heed to Henry Ford's old adage that "No one ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American people."

War: the form nostalgia takes when men are hard-pressed to say something good about their country

In order:

Mark Edmundson (Why Teach?); Don DeLillo (White Noise); David Graeber (Debt: The First 5000 Years); Neil Postman (The End of Education); John Gray (Straw Dogs); Garret Keizer paraphrasing Saul Alinsky in "Loaded"; Eric Kandel (The Age of Insight); John Gray (Straw Dogs); Neil Postman (The End of Education); Gore Vidal (Palimpsest); Robert Walser (Jakob von Gunten); Mark Edmundson (Why Teach?); Richard Rodriguez, "Disappointment"; Harlan Ellison (The Glass Teat); Don DeLillo (White Noise)

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