Alexander Film Works

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

But What Does It Mean?

In It Bugs Me, Just Because... on June 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

NOTICE: PARENTAL ADVISORY IN FORCE.  LANGUAGE ISSUES DISCUSSED.

There’s a few things that have been bugging me lately.  Mostly, the misunderstanding that words caused on a transit bus in Oakland, California, is shocking.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video by now… the black male taking offense at what a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran said, about having his “boy” spit-shine his shoes for his upcoming trip to a funeral, and talking about his “brother”.

As I understand it, the black male took the use of “boy” as a racially offensive derogatory term.  (It was a custom, back in the day, for white southerners to refer to males of color as “boy”, to denigrate and diminish their status.)  It’s not necessarily so, anymore; the vet could have been referring to his son, his nephew, or a young male who works for or with him.  The dictionary definition of “boy” is merely that of a non-mature male.

Spit-shining shoes?  Anyone who has been exposed to the military knows that spit-shining is the preferred method of imparting a shine on shoes before inspection.  It’s a traditional way of doing it.  I believe that the black male in question had never been exposed to this terminology, and took it badly as well.

And then, the black male took issue with the vet’s use of the term “brother”; the black male seemed to think the word was exclusive to those of African-American descent.  The dictionary says it refers to a male sibling of the same parentage; it’s also been used for members of fraternal groups, or members of a religious order who are not priests.  The wider definition is to refer to those who have shared experiences, such as being in the same group in a combat situation, or being bound together by these common links.

Now… all this is preface, so to speak, to the main word that has been bugging me.  And a bit of warning:  If commonly used expletives give you a problem, it would be best for you to stop here.

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Ready?

The issue is the many and various syntactical uses of the word “fuck”.  The short Anglo-Saxon monosyllable, meaning having sexual intercourse, has been diluted so much by overuse that any shock value it may have had is almost certainly gone by now.  Younger generations than mine, exposed from near-infancy to profane, violent, and expletive-filled music and video, seem to use that particular word in every method conceivable in speech.

They use it as a noun – “You lazy fuck.”  They use it as a verb – “Go fuck yourself.”  They use it as an adjective, an adverb, an intensifier to other adjectives or adverbs.  They use it as an interjection – “Fuck!”  They even use it as a gerund (a form of the present participle of a verb used as a noun) – “Fucking is the best fucking thing fucking ever!”  (The first one is the gerund, by the way.)

In the lexicon of the younger generation, it seems, this one word replaces ever so many others, and that’s a shame.  We have so many words in the English language, and so few get used… Calling somebody a “fuckhead”, while descriptive, isn’t as lyrical as calling someone a “pusillanimous peckerneck piss-ant”.  (Yes, I’m fond of alliteration.)

I just miss it when people spoke a little more creatively, I suppose.  Putting that extra effort into it meant you really cared enough to send the very worst.

Eventful Times

In Just Because... on June 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Last evening, as I write this, Nik Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the famous wire walking family, completed a spectacular walk over Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls, going from the American side to the Canadian side.

He said there were about two years’ worth of efforts made to get the proper permits, engineering, rigging, and everything else together before he could attempt the feat.  He trained on a wire with fire trucks spraying him with water, and an airboat blasting him with 55 mile-an-hour winds.

Needless to say, he made it.

His explanation of how he did it comes down to a Wallenda family article of faith:  “Never give up”.  When he encountered opposition from the governments of New York State, the province of Ontario, the Canadian Ministry (whichever one it is) in charge of their side of the Falls, the U.S. Department of Something-or-Other that has charge of the American side, and from skeptics, naysayers, and doubting Thomases in both countries, he followed this belief.

It worked out pretty damn good, didn’t it?

Suffice it to say that, for those of us who remember the tragedy at the State Fair Coliseum in Detroit back in 1962, and who still are horrified by Karl Wallenda falling from a wire in Puerto Rico, this is even more of a magnificent achievement by someone who has trained, dedicated himself, and learned from all the bad – and the good – that has been done by his family, and others in the same line of work.

“Never give up.”

Not a bad epitaph, eh?

Making Book…

In Just Because... on June 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm

(And no, I don’t mean booking bets.)

Today, My Beautiful and Supremely Intelligent Wife and I have been arranging for events we’ll be trying for the remainder of the summer and into the fall.

We’re going to see if we can get on staff at Chicon 7, the upcoming Chicago World Science Fiction Convention Labor Day weekend, and we’ve gotten reservations and are reserving vendor space at Archon, the St. Louis area regional convention.  We will also be trying to save/earn/acquire enough money to get there.

I plan to try and get more interviews and background (known in the trade as “b-roll”) footage to help add to my in-progress documentary on costumers and creativity.  It’s quite a thing.

At any rate, I will be busy, hopefully fulfillingly, throughout the summer months.

Could be worse… but I’m refusing to ask how.

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