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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Category Archives: FWOTD!

It has been a little while since I’ve added to the fictionary.

My apologies.

This is the fourteenth FWOTD.

eccentrick (ik-sen-trik)
noun

an individual’s inherently narcissistic belief that by engaging in seemingly “contradictory” behaviors, he/she has an unusual, peculiar, or otherwise interesting personality.

In other words, a manufactured sense of eccentricity.

For example: “Isn’t it weird that on some Fridays, I like to party all night and other times I just like to sit in my pajamas and watch a movie?”

No, it isn’t weird.

I praised Alanis a few weeks ago for (unfortunately but) fundamentally changing our use of the word “irony,” so it might not be a big surprise that I am pinning eccentrick in part on another female singer/songwriter from the 90’s: Meredith Brooks.

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I’m a bitch, I’m a lover

I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed

The song above (understandable titled “Bitch”), which peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts in 1997, tells the tale of a proud, fierce woman who, so far as I can tell, is completely normal.  Yet woven throughout the lyrics is the implication that by acting differently depending on the singer’s mood or circumstances, she is worthy of our attention.

This mentality is eccentrick.

Though Meredith Brooks may have helped popularize this particular brand of self-absorption, eccentrick behavior is most pervasive in the world of online dating.  The unattached are so frightened of scaring off a potential mate that they find it necessary to hedge any statement or claim that could be considered strong.

Rather than be thought of as a “girly girl,” someone might write, “I love buying shoes but also like to lounge around in flip-flops!”  Rather than be thought of as a workaholic, that same person might say, “I take my job seriously, but I also find time to go out and have fun.”  Instead of saying anything, this person has said nothing.

Though the (faux) definition of this term is couched in negative language, the fact is I believe we are all guilty of this kind of thinking in one way or another.  We seem to be more than capable of giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt — or even patting ourselves on the back — when we act in a way that is antithetical to what we know to be “usual.”

As it turns out, we don’t view our contradictions as problematic when we weave them into our definition.

Yet when we are witness to another acting outside the scope of “normal” behavior, we immediately judge the scenario based on an objective, static understanding of the world around us.  We would never do something like that.  We would never be so drunk, or so wrong-headed.

We would never wear those pants.

“There are rules that must be followed!” we might say.

But our own contradictions?  Of course we can be forgiven!

Our own failings?  You just have to understand where we’re coming from!

We are precious snowflakes!

No.

As it turns out — we are not.

That we are not as interesting as we tend to believe we are is both good news and bad news, and the good and bad news is the same news:

We humans are all pretty much the same.

We want to believe that our contradictions are what makes us us, but the reality is that they simply makes us human.

 

Today, the fictionary grows one word larger.

This is the thirteenth FWOTD.

fanatischism (fa-nat-i-skiz-uhm)
noun

a remarkable but completely avoidable cocktail of sadness and anger invariably stemming from one’s choosing to base a portion of his/her mood on the success and failures of a particular sports team or professional athlete

For example: “I am the biggest New York Mets fan in the world and can’t stand it when they lose!”

The ‘fanatischism’ explained visually in 10 seconds.

There is a great divide — a “schism” if you will — between the relationship that a fanatical sports fan believes he has with his most favorite team and the objective analysis of the relationship’s actual impact.  While the fan will claim to extract a great deal of happiness and will unquestionably justify the amount of time, energy, and money he puts into his favorite club, the reality is that far (far!) more often than not, his team will end up not winning a championship and he will be filled with pain and sadness.

And anger.

And he will transfer this anger — sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly — to his friends and loved ones.

And then those people will be sad and angry.

It is the circle of strife.

Statistically, if there are are 30 teams in a league and you are a “big fan” for 60 years, you will see your team win a championship twice.  You will see your team not win a championship 58 times.  Statistically.  And even in rare instances (roughly 3% of the time) where the favorite team does end up winning a championship, the joy is fleeting because another season is just around the corner.

It seems appropriate, then, to ask whether we are being fair to ourselves when we invest a huge amount of our emotional energy to root for people who do not care about us to do arbitrary things in order to win an particular set of games influenced by officials prone to human error in an league environment that — in an ideal universe — should lead to a small, fleeting window of euphoria in 3% of the years we spend invested?

Packers fans one short season after a SuperBowl victory

I suppose this analysis isn’t very interesting, except for the fact that we sports fans do this to ourselves for reasons that are not entirely clear.  There are very few rational reasons to root for a particular sports team/athlete, especially in the today’s completely demystified corporate sports environment.

Each season we witness our favorite athletes speak calmly and clearly into microphones around the world: This is a business.  You have to understand this is a business.  College athletes don’t make this point particular because they themselves do not get paid, but they probably should since it’s probably not an enormous coincidence that the NCAA brought in over $840 million in 2010-2011.

We know it is a business.

It is patently obvious that our professed love and unapologetic irrationality is being leveraged against us for economic gain, and we don’t seem to mind.

But maybe we should.

Let’s hash out the two sides of the sports fan relationship:

Fan’s View of Relationship With Team

  1. Chooses team usually based on proximity and/or tradition
  2. Cares deeply about outcome of games/seasons
  3. Spends money to show support for team
  4. Spends time monitoring progress of team
  5. Professes love and adoration for team employees

Team’s View of Relationship With Fan

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In the end, we are choosing to make enormous emotional, temporal, and financial commitments to people and entities who couldn’t care less about us and are engaging in a behaviors that have no meaningful impact on the real world.  

Unless, of course, your team wins — or loses! — a championship.

Fanatics after their team wins championship!

Fanatics after their team loses championship!

Time to add another word to the fictionary!

For the record, we’re up to twelve FWOTD now.

desirony (de-si-ro-ny)
noun

an emotional imbalance that stems from the impossible, unfortunate longing to erase knowledge and experience so as to be able to experience, again, for the first time, the overwhelming joy of a particularly influential discovery

For example: “I am so jealous that you are fortunate enough to never have read Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  I’ll never touch the book again because I know it won’t be the same as the first time, so all I’m left with is an uncomfortable case of desirony.”

Desirony is constructed from two root words: desire and irony.

After all, what could possibly more ironic than the desire to remove a positive experience from your own life for the purposes of seeking it out the first place?

I doubt Alanis Morissette could even answer that question.

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(An aside! The most ironic thing in the world actually happens to be Alanis Morissette’s Ironic, the video for which you can find above.   It is not at all controversial — and is in fact bordering on cliche — to point out that song, which reached #4 on the Billboard chart in 1996, contains lyrics that seem to completely misunderstand the meaning of the word “ironic.”  However, due in part to the song’s popularity, primary usage of the word is shifting to favor Morissette’s definition [“unfortunate”] as opposed to, you know, the actual definition [“ironic”].  In conclusion, Alanis Morissette is probably a genius.)

Though our lives — even your life! — are filled with joy, we do not long to reexperience every single positive event that has ever happened.  We fondly remember these events, sure, but we are not overcome with the specific desire to, for example, relive the night we watched a reasonably entertaining movie like A Serious Man.  There is no part of you that pines for the experience of watching it again, for the first time (unless you are an enormous, insufferable Coen Brothers fanboy/girl).  On the other hand, maybe you do think about your maiden Shawshank Redemption voyage.

Or maybe it’s just me.

In any event, while I am not yet convinced desirony is an affliction that impacts anyone other than myself, I have nonetheless have decided that it is a word worth introducing to the world (that will never be used again).

Remember: You can check out the other mostly-useless Faux Word of the Day words by checking out the Faux Outrage Fictionary!

The fictionary was recently invented (by me, out of thin air), so we might as well add to it.

cropportunity (krop-er-too-ni-tee)
noun

a favourable, appropriate, or advantageous combination of circumstances whereby a formerly pleasant (though now undesirable person) is able to be easily removed from a digital photograph, the result of which is an enjoyable photo still worthy of display

For example: “I can’t believe I invited my ex on our trip to Parthenon, but I found a bunch of cropportunities in the photos in Athens where he is posing way to our left.”

In The Era of Facebook (or however you would like to drastically overstate the importance of any single technology), we find ourselves in a constant state of backward-looking awareness.  No single era of our life is ever completely buried, emotionally or otherwise. Photos from ten years ago will always seem as though they were taken yesterday when reviewed regularly, for better or for worse.

Our pictures and videos and messages from (ex-girl)friends are always a click or three away, and never strewn about the inside a shoebox placed neatly underneath stacks of yellowed newspapers.  Our pictures and videos and messages have no physical form and exist only on the hard drives in our computers and in our minds.

Even the squares in my generation know to shake ‘it’ like a Polaroid picture, but we haven’t seen one of those black and white rectangles in years.

We keep shoes in our shoeboxes.

And to the extent that our memories are only kind of shaped by what actually happens and mostly shaped by the way we choose to document and digest our experiences, I think we ought to train ourselves to look for cropportunities.  Remembering a slightly modified, half-true happy memory certainly beats the heck out of removing those photographs from your hard drive (and consciousness) forever.

I guess this is also a reminder that you should never let your (possibly temporary) significant other get between you and your friends and family, literally.

If you do, you might miss out on a wonderful cropportunity.

Remember: You can check out the other mostly-useless Faux Word of the Day words by checking out the Faux Outrage Fictionary!

In life, they say, you don’t get too many guarantees.  But here’s one, just for you: this blog entry will be the most meta in the history of Faux Outrage.  (And if it turns out that it’s not, I’m counting on you to forget this pesky — and, for the record, completely unenforceable — “guarantee.”)

There is a new faux word of the day today, Fictionary, that only exists because of the very idea of a FWOTD in the first place.  In essence, it is the reason for itself.

fictionary (fik-shuhn-ner-ee)
noun

an electronic reference resource, complied by Zach Sparer on the Faux Outrage website, that consists of an alphabetical list of not-exactly-real words with their completely-made-up meanings and parts of speech, and a guide to pronunciation and syllabification.

Put more simply, the Fictionary is a new feature here at Faux Outrage that will act as a clearinghouse for all past FWOTD’s.  Each of the past FWOTD as well as other blog-centric terms (e.g., “FWOTD”) are defined.  In addition, there are links to the fleshed-out blog posts for each faux word.  You’ll be able to access the fictionary at any time by clicking on Fictionary! link in the top-right corner of the blog, right next to the aptly named HUH? and WHO? links.

There are 10 entries in the fictionary so far.

Check it out!

toothpastefordinner.com

 

Faux Word of the Day actually started out as a joke between me and myself, a pretty standard communication these days.  Since I only had one faux word at the time (punintentional), the idea was that the series would be a one-parter:  One word.  One day.  One joke.

The end.

But as with most things in my life, especially when it comes to jokes, I don’t know when to stop.  (That’s what she said.)  And so, shortly thereafter, we learned about:

And now, here we are with the latest edition: expertease.

expertease (ex-per-teez)
noun

the condition of having  a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area such that the depth of understanding inadvertently but severely degrades the individual’s ability to enjoy reasonably sufficient goods or services.

For example: “Ever since I spent that semester in Scotland surrounded by 30-year single malts, I can’t even bring myself to take a sip of Johnny Walker Black.  What an expertease.”

Expertease is a bit of conundrum.

Essentially, the more educated or experienced you are in certain areas of life, the less able you are to extract happiness from situations that draw upon that knowledge.

Education of course can (and should!) prevent you from continuing to make horrible choices, like the first time I tried a microbrew (Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, I believe) and decided that Keystone Light just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.  But at a certain point, you suddenly find yourself so keenly aware and your tastes so refined that you are no longer willing to accept objectively average or even slightly-above-average product.

Basically, when you hit the point of expertease, your knowledge becomes so great that that you…

  1. are no longer able to enjoy a reasonably acceptable class of product that was once a source of pleasure
  2. find yourself spending more money and/or time in order to meet your newfound, pinkie-out high standards
  3. become completely insufferable and impossible to hang out

For your sake and the sake of those around you, be wary of expertease!

Confucius once said,

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

I have a feeling Confucius spent a ton of money on fancy scotch.

Behold!  Your vocabulary is about to get one (essentially pointless*) word larger!

[pause approximately 8 seconds for applause]

Since FauxOutrage began, you have learned of punintentionalfauxjectivitygendrification, NetFlixtion, and most recently, annexiety.  Today, I present you with glawking.

glawking (glawk-ing)
verb

to use the reflection of glass, such as a storefront or subway train window, in order to inconspicuously stare at or ogle an amusing or otherwise intriguing person or situation.

For example: “I had no idea why the woman sitting behind me on the metro was crying until I pretended to look out the window and glawked at the book she was reading: Tuesdays With Morrie.  She could have filled both of Mitch Albom’s ears with that pool of tears.”

(Note: Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays With Morrie, has enormous ears.)

Humans are curious creatures.  As a rule, we want to know what is going on around us.  This is why traffic grinds to a halt whenever there is an opportunity to watch the cops harass someone other than us.  It’s why we rush to our window when we hear folks talking loudly on the street.  It’s (unfortunately) why we like reality shows (on the basis that they are actually reality).  It’s also why we read newspapers, check out Newsweek, and why we peruse the pages of Playboy magazine.

(Because the Internet is down?)

We want to know.

Unfortunately, though we are always excitedly assessing and reassessing the our surroundings, we also do not want our unwitting subjects to catch us sleuthing.  That is why it is so important that you perfect your glawking skills.  Any translucent glass surface can be used to determine if the girl walking behind you is cute (or a man) and as plausible deniability on the off chance that your reflecting eyes meet accidentally.

Or maybe it will be love at first glawk.

* When you think about it, any word, no matter how powerful, is by itself “essentially pointless.”  In the vast majority of circumstances, if we were to forget/lose a random word in the English language, we would nonetheless be able to communicate the meaning of that word using a synonym or collection of other words.

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