Friday, September 16, 2005

The Consolation of Unphilosophy

I learn new words every day (although I sometimes suspect I forget them as I sleep), but my current research is throwing up a number of interesting Regency terms, many of them cant.

One is "unphilosophize," a transitive verb. It was actually first used (so far as we know) by Alexander Pope, in a letter of 1713: "Our passions, our interests, flow in upon us, and unphilosophize us into mere mortals."

That makes its meaning clear enough. But just over a century later, Byron adds a sexual sense. Writing to his half-sister, he is explaining why he failed to hold to a resolve to keep his sexual distance from a woman who has been pursuing him (and who in fact followed him from London to Geneva):

Now--don't scold--but what could I do?--a foolish girl--in
spite of all I could say or do--would come after me--or
rather went before me--for I found her here . . . I could
not exactly play the Stoic with a woman--who had scrambled
eight hundred miles to unphilosophize me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Post Posties

A postie is someone who posts on his blog a lot. (I just made that up.) "Post postie" is a postmodernist way of describing the condition of having gotten beyond, or anyway past, the condition of frequent posting. I became post postie because of a busy summer. A busy autumn looms (in fact, it's already upon me), but I'll try to post a bit more often.

But meanwhile I hear that LiveJournal is in fact that hot way to have a blog, not Blogger or other venues. In LiveJournal you can do things with "Friends" not available here. I got going here on Blogger because a friend opened a blog and for a while (until she changed her settings) you had to join to comment. Now my friend has closed up her shop, other friends here are also (or exclusively) posting on LiveJournal, and here I am, out of date again.

This is the story of my life, to be forever one phase shift behind. I show up in my tie-dye T-shirt, bong in hand, and everyone is three blocks away throwing themselves into a mosh pit.