A Call To Action

« January 2012 »

Memo to Mr. Potato Head, Don Young, and Wingnuts About A Month Ago: YOU ARE DUMB.

Words have power. Power that ebbs and grows over the years with popularity and usage. And since language is fluid and mutable, it's up to us, the people who understand words the best, to guard language and guide usage. So today, I'm issuing a You Are Dumb Call To Action, spelled out in a SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY.

See, I was watching a bit of Hardball last night, and in the span of five minutes, on either side of the commercial break, Chris Matthews used the word "kerfuffle" twice. To refer to two completely different incidents. One was a minor Twitter feud between Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, and the other was irrelevant but different.

Now, "kerfuffle" has been experiencing a bit of an ironic resurgence over the past couple of years. As a quaint, slightly tongue in cheek to refer to a minor imbroglio, or to satirically refer to something like, say, the bombings in Libya. Well, guess what? That fucking ride is over, folks. "Kerfuffle" is dead. Potato Head killed it. He stuck a fork in it's ass, turned it over, and proclaimed it "done". I'm calling for an immediate Kerfuffle Backlash, extending even to the demonstrably superior "Kerfluffle".

I know you're disappointed. I know you think we can't have nice things without puffy loads like Matthews ruining them faster than your dad trying to say "bomb-diggity". Tough shit. The die is cast, it rolled a natural 1, and "kerfuffle" was impaled on its own vorpal sword. Snicker-fucked. Stop using it, and inform the people using it of the backlash posthaste. They'll resist at first, but once you tell them Chris Matthews loves the word now, they'll see the light.

But, as the saying goes, I don't close a door and fart without opening a window. And so I have not one, but two potential suggestions for words/phrases to help fill the K-hole in our hearts. First: PONTIFIGURD.

What is a pontifigurd? Nobody knows. Which means we can make it mean whatever we want to, and treat it as a synonym for "kerfuffle" until that's what it becomes. Where did it come from? Well, you can thank an apoplectically pissed off Alaska congressman. Specifically, Don Young, who got all ragey when, during an ANWR drilling hearing, he mistakenly called Dr. Douglas Brinkley of Rice University "Dr. Rice". ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Well, okay, I can call you anything I want if you sit in that chair. You just be quiet! You be quiet! The Arctic plain is really nothing. You can go on all the pontifigurds you want... I’m really pissed.”

Stay classy, Congressman. Stay classy. Young's psychotic hissy fit may not really rise to the level of decorum we might hope for from our legislators, but his last bit of verbal diarrhea and/or accidental neologism is perfect for our needs. It sounds quaint, it sounds ridiculous, and every time we use it, we'll be simultaneously mocking an asshat. Pontifigurds!

For those of you who don't like made up words, I have an alternate suggestion. The phrase "veiled provocation". It's a bit more on the nose than "pontifigurd", but it does have a history nearly as storied as Don Young's rant.

You see, last December 7, like every December 7 before it, was Pearl Harbor Day. The day we remember when, half a dozen or more wars ago, a bunch of Japanese people who are pretty much all dead now attacked Hawaii, drawing the United States into war. It was 70 years ago, we're friends with Japan now, and Michael Bay even got to make a shitty movie about it.

None of this, of course, stopped wingnuts from manufacturing a tiny pontifigurd over the fact that, on Pearl Harbor day, the school Obama's kids go to happened to have a variety of Asian food on the menu, including teriyaki chicken, Szechuan tofu, spinach salad, and fortune cookies. This mix of Japanese food, Chinese food, European salad, and American confection was, of course, a gross insult to all the people who died 70 years ago at the hands of one of those four nations. In bed.

But I can't really explain it in quite the same way local D.C. TV news website commeter Freddie Klein can.

"Is it an endorsement of Japan'a actions? Technically, not quite, although Teriyaki WAS on the menu. But reasonably speaking, isn't this just another way of "opting out" of the theme of Dec. 7th? Of ALL the days to have Asian food (since the Japanese are also Asian), would it be racist NOT to have Asian menus today??? Don't you see the veiled provocation here?"

VEILED PROVOCATION. What better way to describe a technically not-quite endorsement of Japan's sneak attack via an assortment of assimilated foods from the same continent as the island nation that bombed us seven decades ago? If that provocation were any more veiled, you could call it Washington's garment district, for fuck's sake.

So there you have it. Call them pontifigurds, call them veiled provocations, hell, come up with your own suggestion and hit me up with it on Twitter (@youaredumb) if you want. But it's time to stop calling them "kerfuffles", because it's apparently time for Chris Matthews to start.