Tuesday, 6 November 2007

While boycotting the horseploitation, Harlot's mind turns to ...

One of the occupational hazards in my line o' work is the tendency to turn adjectives into nouns. Yes, adjectives (like "small", "porcine", "Marxist") into nouns (like "Clydesdale", "elbow", "neurosis").

It all began with "aesthetic". "Aesthetic" used to be an adjective, as in "My, what an aesthetic rhubarb!", but now I have "an aesthetic" (not to be confused with anaesthetic), as in "My aesthetic includes rhubarb, but not celery, unless daubed in houmos, which doesn't go so well with rhubarb". Sometimes I have multiple aesthetics. My aesthetics have recently become so nominal (that's "nouny" to you) that I speak of them in nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative, locative and vocative cases, regularly.

Likewise, "problematic". "You are a problematic child", my Aunt Janice* used to say to me, as I hosed her decoupage papier mache pot pourri vase. Nowadays, though, I catch myself speaking of "the problematics of pedagogy", or, sometimes, "the problematics of cooking the mushrooms in a separate pot when it's still encrusted with last week's burnt noodle offering".

Or take "poetic". Long gone are the days of adjectivally bewailing one's poetic soul; now one bewails one's poetic. Or another's poetics. Or we all bewail each other's poetics, which is fun, but it troubles my old-fashioned notions about adjectives and nouns and never the twain shall miscegenate.

The crowning insult to a hypocritical noun purist such as myself is the naming of a horse with an adjective. Efficient, I tells you. I mean, really, couldn't they have gone the extra syllable and made him Efficiency? If this sort of behaviour isn't nipped in the bud, posthaste, Prudence will be renamed Prudent, and Hope, Hopeful, and Chastity, Chaste, and Richard will go all Richardy, and Wilbur will be called Wilburious, and Alexis - God help us - Alexistential (angst, perhaps).

*A fictional aunt. Or perhaps just "a fictional".


Martin Kingsley said...

Wilburious (Wilburine, maybe, though it sounds like a forthcoming addition to the periodic table) is good.

Horseploitation, however, is better. Into this newly-birthed genre we will include Seabiscuit, Black Beauty and The Man From Snowy River, and many an undergraduate will, year after year, write laboriously vague essays on the specific requirements for admission into this freshly-hewn Equine Hall of Shame.

prude said...

I do not thinks the name Prudence has the same rings to it as Prude!

Of course Prudence has a nicer ringtone to it than Flagrant Immodest Misbehaviour. Noun or no noun may it be.

Maria said...

I read a story recently about a horse who bit someone, 'Lexi. 'Twas a racehorse, and I think it was the owner or trainer who was bit. (Amongst the Melbourne Cup news)

In line with some horsey talk of recent, I began to muse. Was this a startling display of a horse not showing its supposed deliberate avoidance of cruelty towards humans?

Or was it a spirited horse rebelling in protest against the exploitation of horses in the degrading sport of racing, and taking a stance on the side of horses all over the world?

Or was it a sign of affection, yeah, a lovebite?

Not knowing horsey language, I shall not know, I suppose.


Maria said...

I thought about your horse comments when I watched "Michael Clayton" on Tuesday, Lexicon.

Nice horseys. Good horseys. Nice horseys .... (I know something is going to happen now, but ... nice horseys ...)

Anonymous said...

fu fu fu

Martin Kingsley said...

I think I preferred the ever-colourful World of Warcraft advertisers to this nameless monosyllabic non-entity.