Nashville Luminary, Annoyance, Gone Dark

Update:  Mystery Solved

1/3/09 – I was able to contact Mr. Warner, former publisher of Mother Tongue Annoyances, and he wrote back as follows – his remarks appear with his permission:

Yes, I am ‘that’ Tim Warner. I took the Mother Tongue Annoyances blog offline because (a) I lost interest in it; (b) I had some privacy concerns based upon some overly revealing things I described about myself in some of my articles; and (c) I was tired of fielding negative commentary from the proverbial ‘peanut gallery.’

Resource Lost

With a sense of loss I write to say this morning I found dead the link to Tim Warner’s Mother Tongue Annoyances.  The Snap thingummy at right when you mouse over the link appears to still work, showing a tiny webpage preview snapshot of the site with a large Asian language character of, to me, unknown provenance upper right near the site’s Search box.

Cadged from the Snap.com mouse-over

Cadged from the Snap.com mouse-over - page thumb appears to date from April, 2007

Blissfully, I clicked on the little picture and found, to my horror, this:

Fare Ye Well said the site's title bar

Fare Ye Well said the site's title bar, and Web PDF downloaded this long, sad, nearly empty page

Warner’s important work has contributed to my understanding of the term, “Asshat.”  I’ve spent much time happily perusing his site for information of the sort I’ve been unable to reliably find elsewhere.  My reason for consulting MTA this morning was to find information for this site.

I recall reading somewhere on the site that Warner’s employment brought him to Nashville from some other part of the country, possibly the north-central states.  He published, I read at one point, a snarling diatribe of sorts against my own religion, Christianity, but I excused him on the grounds that his work was sound, interesting, and his education was undoubtedly a product of what passes for higher learning in these United States.  Also because he seemed to take issue more with my coreligionists, and to have little understanding of the religion, itself.

So what’s happened to Warner?  I don’t remember seeing that Asian language character upon his website prior to today’s mouse-over.  Has he become enamored with the speech and related cultural habits of a language and people group not natively his own?  I would like to know.  It is a mystery.

Shit

I’ve been pondering the etymology of some current uses of the English word, “Shit.”  Specifically “Crazy Shit,” and “Wild Shit,” usually preceded in speech by “Dude (or other mode of address), that’s some (insert type of shit here).”  In my experience, the term “Crazy Shit” connotes something unacceptably bad in the past tense unfortunately unpreventable, whereas the term “Wild Shit” is spoken with a wistful and grudging admiration for a daring, large surprisingly truthful or defiant act or statement.

“Shit” also may refer to marijuana, perhaps the gateway drug through the use of which the unacceptably bad and unfortunately unpreventable, or the daring, large surprisingly truthful or defiant stepped out into the world of human act or omission.

Something to think about.

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8 thoughts on “Nashville Luminary, Annoyance, Gone Dark

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘shit’.
    It may interest you that the word, in its use as expression of realizing something bad is, or has been going on, has become quite common in the Dutch language, over the last couple of decades. We mainly see it as an American word, also because it seems the English more and more go for the word: ‘shite’, which sounds more like the German word: ‘Scheiße’. All these words appear to be related in their Germantic roots. The word, as well as the expression can be translated directly into the Latin forms of: ‘merde, merda and mierda’. Strangely ennough the original Dutch word ‘schijt’ is undoubtly related, but has never been use as the expression, we now use ‘shit’ for. In Dutch the word most used in the expression is ‘kut’, which also is a vulgar word for vagina. Well, in common use this becomes prostitution, and so the word becomes related to the Latin: ‘putain and putana’, and even ‘kurba’ in Polish. These words literally mean ‘hooker’, but can also be used in the expression we here discus, as an equivalent for ‘shit’.

    • Carried away? No problem. This has been educational as were your blog posts on the subject of economics. How do the Dutch use the word ‘schijt?’

      The other English language use of the word ‘shit’ I’ve been pondering is the phrase ‘baby-shit green’ commonly used to describe a color used to enamel large kitchen and laundry appliances in the United States during the 1970s. That color came from the mixers, I believe, in containers labeled ‘Avocado.’ Having parented now several months an infant, I have had cause to regard while changing diapers the excrement of same, and the actual color is much darker, almost a deep forest green. No matter that. As I thought about the phrase, I remembered also the facial expressions of its users (myself in my younger days – remembering my own facial expressions from the inside, as it were) imaginatively enabling me to both see and hear the contempt implicit in the phrase’s application. Does the speaker despise the color, or does he despise babies? For me, I believe it was a little of both, more the latter, and the phrase allowed me to apply the contempt I felt for the one to the other, and to anyone who made use of originally or by not, as the realtors say, updating, an outdated home decor color scheme. Actually having a baby completely changed my perspective.

    • Back in the tony So. Cal suburbs where I spent some time as an opportunistic recreational drug-user (I much preferred and spent every penny I had obtaining alcoholic beverages), I believe I heard marijuana referred to as ‘shit,’ as well as ganja, grass, pot, weed, and so forth. It was only in Amsterdam in the 1980s that I actually spent money to purchase and use hashish, which did look like a little, squared-off block of tarry fecal matter. I am sure you are correct about the slang application of the word ‘shit’ to hashish.

      I’m not sure I’d apply my own definition of ‘crazy shit’ to the cannabisculture link. Although I’ve not completely read it, I’d term it more ‘strange,’ as in “Dude, that’s some strange shit, but I’ve got to read it through completely and maybe research it better before I express an opinion.” I will say, however, that in the little graphic, the bearded dude reaching skyward looks like he’s having an episode of excretory distress. Good thing he’s wearing a diaper. 🙂

      • Just for starters, I’ve got to say I think it is a stretch to get from “spice cane” to cannabis – From Young’s Literal Translation available at http://www.biblegateway.com :

        Exodus 30:22-23

        22And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
        23`And thou, take to thyself principal spices, wild honey five hundred [shekels]; and spice-cinnamon, the half of that, two hundred and fifty; and spice-cane two hundred and fifty;

        The word translated spice in verse 23 is the Hebrew (of course, all English spellings are somewhat approximate) besem or bosem, derives from basam, meaning to be fragrant. Besem or bosem bespeaks fragrance, as of the balsam plant – spice or sweetness of odor. The Hebrew word transliterated cane, above is, oddly enough, qaneh, meaning balance, bone, branch, calumus, cane, reed, spearman, stalk, or by resemblance, a rod for measuring. Not having access to a Hebrew text, I cannot say in what order the words fall in the writing.

        So the author of the article linked orders the words thus, qaneh besem or qaneh bosem. The etymology of the word cannabis, however, appears to derive from the Greek: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cannabis

        Also, and quickly, the cannabis-writer of the linked article, when he or she purportedly “adapted” the material from what that writer cites as a work by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen either repeated or committed afresh a reference error, to wit, there is no I Kings 23. In II Kings 23 a purge of heathen synchretisms from the Hebrew temple worship at Jerusalem is described, but if I recall correctly, no forgery of the Sinaitic law was made, rather a rediscovery of those ancient writings occurred.

        As you might expect, my knee-jerk tendency is to oppose the statements made in the cannabis article, and I do not recognize gnostic mystery religions or their latter-day proponents as credible sources in the matter of whether the Christ was “made” so with a topical application of marijuana like the lamp oil used by 17 century practitioners of what is popularly termed witchcraft.

  2. As I said, the Dutch word ‘schijt’ is not used as curseword, but for the rest it’s the same word as its English/American equivalent, as a verb (schijten) and to indicate the product of the act. The word schijterd (somebody who shits) is most commonly used for scolding someone who is cowardly fearful.
    The expression ‘ik heb er schijt aan’ (I have shit attached to it) means: ‘I don’t care’, and it somewhat correlates with the French ‘ce m’emmerde’ (it beshits me) or ‘je m’emmerde’ (I shit on me), which respectively means: ‘I’ve got enough of it’ and ‘I’m completely bored’.

  3. I was aware that my ‘crazy shit’ did not really match your definition, but I always like to close the circle, even if it take a littlebit of cheating. Strange does fit better, or weird, like: “Yeah dude, this stuff is really weird!!!”
    More serious about the subject of gateways are the essays by Aldous Huxley; ‘Doors of Perception’, and ‘Heaven and Hell’, but I bet you’ve already read them.
    Personally I have never been a drinker, but at times, I’ve always liked a good smoke. To say it in French: I never shit on me, because I have my boats and my guitar, my bicycle and my bong.

  4. Hopefully ce ne m’emmerde pas, mais I have not read anything by Huxley. Beshits – that cracked me up. I laughed thinking about that as I fell asleep last night. The Dutch expression, translated into English, sounds a little more sober, like a plain statement of fact, but I like it, too.

    My final question about the verb form of the word, ‘shit,’ is the ablaut past-tense now in disuse, ‘shat.’ Any other variant vowels associated? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European_ablaut

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