Archive for ‘Language’

September 9, 2021

Two Minutes Hate

Eastasia

In the dystopian novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949), by George Orwell, the Two Minutes Hate is the daily, public period during which members of the Outer Party of Oceania must watch a film depicting the enemies of the state, specifically Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers, to openly and loudly express hatred for them.

The political purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is to allow the citizens of Oceania to vent their existential anguish and personal hatreds towards politically expedient enemies: Goldstein and the rival superstate of the moment. In re-directing the members’ subconscious feelings away from the Party’s government of Oceania, and towards non-existent external enemies, the Party minimizes thoughtcrime (politically unorthodox thoughts).

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August 22, 2021

Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The Green Knight is a character from Arthurian literature. He is a formidable judge and tester of knights, and as such the other characters consider him as friendly but terrifying and somewhat mysterious.

In ‘Sir Gawain, the Green Knight,’ a 14th century alliterative poem by an anonymous poet, he is so called because his skin and clothes are green. The meaning of his greenness has puzzled scholars since the discovery of the poem, who identify him variously as the ‘Green Man,’ a vegetation being of medieval art; a recollection of a figure from Celtic mythology; a pagan Christian symbol — the personified Devil.

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August 20, 2021

Avant-garde

Society of the Spectacle

The avant-garde (French: ‘advance guard’ or ‘vanguard’) are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It is frequently characterized by aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability.

The avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement, and still continue to do so, tracing their history from Dada through the Situationists and to postmodern artists such as the Language poets of the 1980s.

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August 15, 2021

Submarine Sandwich

Naval Submarine Base New London

Wawa

submarine sandwich, commonly known as a sub, or a hoagie (Mid-Atlantic and Western Pennsylvania), hero (New York City), Italian sandwich (Maine), or grinder (New England), is a type of cold or hot sandwich made from a cylindrical bread roll split lengthwise and filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments.

The Italian sandwich originated in several different Italian American communities in the Northeast from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. The popularity of this Italian-American cuisine has grown from its origins in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to most parts of the U.S. and Canada, and with the advent of chain restaurants, is now available in many parts of the world.

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August 12, 2021

Gopnik

slav squat

gopnik is a member of a slavic subculture stereotyped as prone to hooliganism. Gopota are often seen squatting in groups ‘in court’ or ‘doing the crab’ with their heels on the ground, a behavior attributed to Soviet prison culture and avoidance of sitting on the cold ground.

The subculture of gopota has its roots in the late Russian Empire and evolved during the 20th century in many cities in the Soviet Union. By the late 2010s, it had faded for the most part, although youth gangs (such as the A.U.E.) that resemble gopota still exist in Russia and in other Slavic and Baltic countries.

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August 1, 2021

Grand Poobah

Mikado

Grand Poobah is a satirical term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Mikado’ (1885). In this comic opera, Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including ‘First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral … Archbishop … Lord Mayor’ and ‘Lord High Everything Else.’

The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or locally high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles. American writer William Safire wrote that ‘everyone assumes [the name] Pooh-Bah merely comes from [W. S. Gilbert] combining the two negative exclamations Pooh! plus Bah!, typical put-downs from a typical bureaucrat.’

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July 31, 2021

GPT-3

OpenAI

Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. It is the third-generation language prediction model in the GPT-n series (and the successor to GPT-2) created by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research laboratory.

Before the release of GPT-3, the largest language model was Microsoft’s Turing NLG, introduced several months earlier with a capacity of 17 billion parameters—less than a tenth of GPT-3’s.

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May 26, 2021

Zine

Factsheet Five

zine [zeen] (short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine. A fanzine (blend of fan and magazine) is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest.

The term ‘zine’ was coined in an 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and popularized within science fiction fandom, entering the Oxford English Dictionary in 1949. Zines have served as a medium for various subcultures, and frequently draw inspiration from a DIY ethos that disregards traditional publishing conventions.

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April 28, 2021

Jobsworth

Computer says no

jobsworth is a person who uses the (typically minor) authority of their job in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. It characterizes one who upholds petty rules even at the expense of effectiveness, efficiency, or common sense.

It is a British colloquial word derived from the phrase ‘I can’t do that, it’s more than my job’s worth,’ meaning that failing to do what is requested of them would be against what their job requires and would be likely to cause them to lose their job. English lexicographer Jonathon Green similarly it as ‘a minor factotum whose only status comes from enforcing otherwise petty regulations.’

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April 16, 2021

Simp

Archie

Simp is an Internet slang term describing someone who performs excessive sympathy and attention toward another person, typically someone who does not reciprocate the same feelings. This is usually done in pursuit of a sexual relationship.

Urban Dictionary defines a simp as ‘someone who does way too much for a person they like.’ This behavior, known as ‘simping,’ is carried out toward a variety of targets, including celebrities, politicians, e-girls, and e-boys.

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March 31, 2021

Dirtbag Left

Chapo Trap House

The dirtbag left is a style of left-wing politics that eschews civility in order to convey a left-wing populist message using subversive vulgarity.

It is most closely associated with American left-wing media that emerged in the mid-2010s, most notably the podcast ‘Chapo Trap House.’ Despite the term’s connotations, its use is not typically considered derogatory.

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March 19, 2021

Cliffhanger

Who Shot Mr. Burns

cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. A cliffhanger is hoped to incentivize the audience to return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.

Cliffhangers were used as literary devices in several works of the medieval era, with ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ the collection of Arabic folktales, ending on a cliffhanger each night.

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