James Elliott employs some compound nouns to join speculation about this week’s Covid spinnouncement – and asks if Luxonaroll or a wobble
No sooner has the Parliamentary lawn been resown with perennial rye grass than a new fault line has opened up in our increasingly fractured and fractious populace. I should clarify that this particular fault line is not so much new as annual, although the passing years have done little to bridge what is a perpetually bitter divide.
There’s just no common ground on this societal schism whatsoever. Feijoas. You either love them or you hate them. No one is “meh” about the fruit of this flowering myrtle named after the Portugese naturalist João da Silva Feijó. I’m a lover, but I live with a hater, and so March is tense. Feijoas are banned from our home so I’m forced to enjoy them extra-territorially. And carefully. The hater can smell any traces of fruity betrayal on my clothing.
I can sum up my citrusy situation in just one word, a word that I learned this week – Wohlstandsverwahrlosung – a German compound noun describing the pathetic state that results from comparing your petty problems to the pain and struggle of people who know the meaning of real problems. I’m not comparing my feijoa problems to those of people who know the meaning of real problems, because no doubt you’re already doing that for me.
There is no denying that there is a definite Luxonaroll vibe out there, although there was a slight Luxonawobble this week with his unfortunate seeminglyfootinmouthbutactuallynudgewhistle bottom-feeder comments, following on from the surprise and puzzling departure of Team Blue’s tighthead prop, Simon Bridges.
Given the state of the world today I’m sure I’m not the only one wallowing in Wohlstandsverwahrlosung. It’s the perfect perspective check for the Covid-persisting, Ukraine-invading, climate-changing times we’re in. Just be aware that your word programming software may not agree that Wohlstandsverwahrlosung is the perfect word – my software bypassed spellcheck and activated strokecheck instead.
I should also disclose that I’m a longtime fan of German compound nouns. The one we’re all probably most familiar with is Schadenfreude, that delicious feeling of enjoyment you get when you realise the person you’re talking to doesn’t know the meaning of Schadenfreude. That scenario could be said to be Schadenfreude arising from the other’s lack of Sprachgefül (knack for language). You may write in to disagree with that definition in which case I look forward to your Schriftverkher.
What I like most about German compound nouns is the no-nonsense creative attitude. Let’s not use half a dozen words to describe something, risking a variation in the word formula and nuance next time around, let’s mash them all together for all time so that we always know exactly what we mean.
We’re not averse to compounding a few nouns here in Aotearoa but I think we can do a lot better. The most well-known Kiwi compound noun is Jacindamania, a noun that burst into common usage in 2017, mellowed into Jacindameh in 2020, and this year has mutated into Jacindecline.
More recently Team Blue put some effort into promoting Luxophoria to describe how they were feeling about their new leader’s rise in the polls. It felt a little over-reaching to me and it was no surprise that it didn’t catch on. There is no denying that there is a definite Luxonaroll vibe out there, although there was a slight Luxonawobble this week with his unfortunate seeminglyfootinmouthbutactuallynudgewhistle bottom-feeder comments, following on from the surprise and puzzling departure of Team Blue’s tighthead prop, Simon Bridges. Puzzling because ‘WhySi?’ questions resulted in less than compelling answers, leading to speculation that this particular Brexit was a possible case of jumpush.
I’m convinced that a boffin at the NZ Herald has developed a bot that creates Mike Hosking’s opinion pieces by randomly cutting and pasting from all his previous opinion pieces. Each one reads like a greatest hit of his greatest hits.
However, most of this week’s speculation was as to what the contents of the Prime Minister’s midweek Covid management spinnouncement would be. Paddy Gower set out his expectations for the PM very clearly and unambiguously, saying:
“I’ve got a pretty simple position on this, actually. It’s called open the hell up. Open this country the hell up and get a move on.”
There’s also a pretty simple description of that blunt exhortation, it’s called PaddyWhackJacSmack.
Of course, the prime exponent of JacSmack is Team Blue’s Id Wizard, Mike Hosking, aka The One Man Team of 5 Million Opinions, several of which were published in Thursday’s NZ Herald under the banner “Why Labour’s Behind in the Polls”.
I’m convinced that a boffin at the NZ Herald has developed a bot that creates Mike’s opinion pieces by randomly cutting and pasting from all his previous opinion pieces. Each one reads like a greatest hit of his greatest hits.
Mike’s Thursday piece labelled the Team Red government as “B Teamers handed a crisis, who were exposed for lack of talent and acumen”, and concluded “To me it’s not hard to understand – unless you don’t want to, or you don’t have the wherewithal to get it in the first place.”
What is hard to understand, very hard to understand, is his earlier comment in the same reckonanism that:
“Most of us, the vast majority of us, were never going to be bothered by Covid …”
I freely admit that I don’t have nearly enough wherewithal to get that, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. I guess I must be wherewithout.
Have a peaceful weekend.