A deficiency in vocabulary: various topics

Various snibbets with the same theme:  When our vocabulary deteriorates, so does social discourse.  This is not helped, of course, by carrying out most of our discourse on twitter or FB in 50 words or less.   Some things that have been running through my head, explained at length.

Wholesome vs. Grotesque (thanks wiki)

Grotesque:  Since at least the 18th century (in French and German as well as English), grotesque has come to be used as a general adjective for the strange, fantastic, ugly, incongruous, unpleasant, or disgusting, and thus is often used to describe weird shapes and distorted forms such as Halloween masks. In art, performance, and literature, however, grotesque may also refer to something that simultaneously invokes in an audience a feeling of uncomfortable bizarreness as well as sympathetic pity. More specifically, the grotesque forms on Gothic buildings, when not used as drain-spouts, should not be called gargoyles, but rather referred to simply as grotesques, or chimeras.



Lately, in popular culture, the grotesque has been more and more embraced.  One might debate the whys of the popularity of grotesquerie, but the fact that it is the art of the moment cannot be debated.  Art exists to convey emotion, and to express the truth that cannot be put into words.

Wholesomeness, in contrast, is largely left to foodstuffs these days.  Wholesomeness in aesthetics, in people, in nature, is considered a bit reactionary and old-fashioned.  In the tug of war between grotesque and wholesomeness, public favor has turned firmly towards the grotesque.

I don’t care for the grotesque, although I can appreciate the various artforms in which it appears, and can appreciate the statement that is being made.  Perhaps it is because I do care about the statements made by public display that I dislike grotesquerie so much?  Distortion is not health.

When I see wholesome beauty, I am so struck … it is so uncommon… truly I am filled with emotion, usually awe and appreciation for the Master Artist’s work. It just makes me happy.


Foreboding:  (dictionary.com)

noun – 1.a prediction; portent.2.a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc.;presentiment.

adjective – 3.that forebodes, especially evil.
When I say that I’m filled with a sense of foreboding about the future of our nation, about the election and the fallout therefrom, I’m not saying that I’m afraid.  I see bad things coming, this makes me sad.  I mourn, I do not fear.  Well, not for myself.
Just generally, I look around and I see so many trends that bring me great sadness.  I know that this is how it’s going now, and my job is to continue to be salt and light until my dying breath, but being flesh, I wish for fleshly good.  I wish for prosperity and peace and community, the laughter of babes, and craftsmanship.  Beauty.  Beauty affects me, and ugliness causes me to retract my heart.
Tonight is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.  I wish you all a good year, regardless of my forebodings.  At least, it shouldn’t be boring…

5 thoughts on “A deficiency in vocabulary: various topics

  1. Elspeth

    Will return after coffee and time to ponder but for now wanted to tell you that these are good thoughts that are actually relevant to the times we live.

  2. Booky McBookerson

    Since this is about vocabulary… Snibbet? I guess you meant snippet! (Unless this is some colloquialism of which I am unaware).


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