Monday, March 19, 2007
The Devil's Dictionary
Years ago I came across Ambrose Bierce's masterpiece of cynical thought, aptly titled "The Devil's Dictionary." If you have not had the pleasure of reading it, please follow the link or check it out of your local library. It is a wonderfully cynical look at life at the turn of the 20th Century.
Here are a few of my favorite definitions.
PAIN, n. An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical
basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely
mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
INSURANCE, n. An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player
is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating
the man who keeps the table.
JUSTICE, n. A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition
the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes
and personal service.
About 20 years ago Chuck Moss wrote some additional, more modern definitions in the Detroit News. To the best of my memory, they were something like this
Greens, n. Ex Reds
Anti-Woman, adj. Anything any feminist dislikes
Special Interest, adj. Your Group
Public Interest, adj. My Group
I'd like to spend some time working on some modern definitions in the mold of Bierce.
Darwinism, n. The only approved religion in science, characterized by a fervent belief in the unseen "missing links" and a fundamentalist denunciation of all who disagree with its tenets.
1. A medical condition caused by excess weight, generally in excess of 20 percent more than the ideal weight for an individual as determined by medical experts.
2. The only permissible sin in the church. Characteristic of all classes of Christians, particularly preachers prone to expounding on the evils of vices other than gluttony.
There is a good thread here discussing this.
Let me hear what you have and we can add to it.
This will be fun.