Neo-CroMagnon Man in the Age of the Blackberry

17 May

This all started very innocently. I was trying to think up a word to describe a movie I watched which would fall somewhere in between “hated it” and “not great, but sort of alright I guess.” “Meh” immediately sprang to mind.

This got me thinking on a tangent, wondering if “meh” is even a real word in the sense of being recognized beyond the ken of everyday colloquial parlance. Using my Google-fu I discovered, rather to my surprise, that “meh” is indeed an honest-to-god-dictionary-honored-word as of 2008. In an article I found detailing the word’s induction to the Collins English Dictionary (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/17/meh/) there was a quote which I found worth copying:

“The rise of meh is apparently a sign of how email and the interwebs are “creating language”. McKeown explained: “Internet and email are playing a big part in formalising the spellings of vocal interjections like these. Other examples would be hmm and heh, which are both now ubiquitous online and in emails. People are increasingly writing in a register somewhere in between spoken and written English.”

Some people would call this a corruption of the English language. I have to admit that I find it a bit crass when someone inserts a “LOL” into a real-life conversation. However, in order to corrupt something, it has to be static- it has to have reached a pinnacle beyond which it can be no better, but language is one of the most fluid aspects of our lives. As the culture changes, the language must evolve to keep up. There simply is no point of “best” for language because it must adapt to fit the needs of the people who use it. Unless we as people stop changing, language will continue to do so.

There’s a book called Feed, by M.T. Anderson (brilliant book, by the way) in which there exists little to no difference between the way people speak on the computer and how they speak elsewhere. This is because most of them are hooked up to an internet “feed” 24/7, so most of life is on the computer. The character’s speech is mainly shallow, rife with one syllable words, lots of “like” this and “like” that. Shakespearean? No. Language evolving to suit the needs of its users? Yes.

As our technological evolution continues to create more and more ways for people to communicate via screens and boxes, maybe we are linguistically regressing. Maybe it’s not actually the calamity people seem to think it is. Our ancestors communicated through grunts originally- maybe they had more meaning than we tend to give credence to. Really, is there much difference between a grunt and a “meh”? Not really, but “meh” is a nuanced, flavorful word which with one sound indicates a variety of levels of meaning depending on how it is intoned- a fast conveyance of meaning in a relentlessly fast-paced world where half-hour old news is old news.

It’s survival of the fittest, and in a world where Twitter exists, “meh” just might be the new (or is it old?) breed of language.

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When Frou-Frou Whimsy Meets the Metaphysical

16 May

http://www.calascione.com/index.htm

Miss Calascione’s work is at turns fantastic, frightening, distasteful and almost unbelievably graceful. She melds a masterful knowledge of the symbolism of Freudian and Jungian psychology in the best Surrealist style with luminescent, dainty figures whose initial Rococo vanity mask the deeper meaning of the works. These paintings are stories which, though they may be snapshots,  create a compelling atmosphere of a world like our own, but where our desires and thoughts have shapes and bodies outside of our minds.

Calascione draws her subjects from classical mythology, fairy tales, psychological archetypes and from her own, highly imaginative, mind. There is something disquieting about many of her works, such as Rapunzil, which features a half man-half bird perched on the  eponymous lady’s window, playing a tune. We see the notes riding a musical staff over to her as she sits in a chair, holding scissors, her long hair flowing around her and looking up to the ceiling in an attitude of longing and anguish. However, this Rapunzel is not simply a beautiful maiden. She also happens to have cat ears, claws, fangs and large, green cat’s eyes. To see such human feeling, such deep depression, frustration  and longing displayed in such completely inhuman eyes is unsettling.  The scissors she holds are beginning to cut off a lock of her long hair- could the painting be about changing oneself to fit into society, but always being painfully aware of your true nature and your entrapment within it? It’s one of many, many possibilities, which is what makes Calascione’s work so fun.

The artist’s works and messages are certainly mysterious, but they are a truly lovely mystery. For people who enjoy erudite references and odd symbolism, her paintings are a gold-mine. Calascione’s works may not have any certain answers, but they make you think and think hard. In the end, what else is art supposed to do?

A Brief Explanation

16 May

Not an explanation of this picture. I’m afraid I don’t have one. Rather, an explanation of this blog.

Firstly, my name is Naarah-Blue. Yes, it is my real first name. Nice to meet you.

This blog doesn’t have a “theme” mainly because specialization is for insects and the terminally boring. As an autodidact with a fierce streak of curiosity, I cannot settle on one thing  to keep my interest, not when there’s a whole world out there.  Obviously, some things interest me more than others and I may focus on those things more (especially film), but there’s no strict method to the madness. I am outspoken, strongly opinionated and love debates and new points of view- I also do enjoy long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners.

Now that a formal introduction has been made and hands have been shook hopefully our next meeting will be less awkward and we can get right down to business.