Antic: (adj) grotesque or bizarre
What happens when you use two words to define one word and the two words you apply–which were meant to be synonyms–have absolutely nothing to do with each other?
Because bluntly, I would have to admit that there were times in my life when people would characterize my actions as bizarre, but I would never believe them to be grotesque.
To me, grotesque means “ugly” and bizarre means “unusual.”
Unless we’re trapped in some 21st Century contention that if you happen to be a bit less than beautiful, you’re unusual enough to be considered grotesque. Is that the message?
And an antic is not an appearance, it’s an action–and I, for one, can think of at least four antics off the top of my head which were considered bizarre, if not grotesque in their time, but have proven historically to be life-saving:
1. John Brown attacking the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to free the slaves.
If any of us had met John Brown we would have called him grotesque and certainly bizarre, with his zealous appeal against slavery and his antic of attempting the take-over of a government installation with a bunch of church friends.
It wasn’t exactly well-planned, yet the Union soldiers went into battle singing about his antic to inspire them to destroy an antiquated and evil institution of owning human beings.
2. Jesus of Nazareth calling himself the Son of God–or if you want to be really picky, not raising any objection when others did so.
How much guts would it take to have faith in someone you were sitting next to, who had just farted, as he contended that he was possessed of divine inspiration? I don’t know if I could have pulled that off.
Yes, believing in the resurrected Christ is certainly easier than following the unkempt Galilean.
3. Winston Churchill.
When Adolf Hitler had taken over most of Europe and had set his sights on the British Isles, Churchill and a few of his cronies decided to make a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Berlin. It wasn’t popular and certainly the bombing of Londontown was grotesque and bizarre.
But the action halted the progress of the Third Reich, allowing time for the United States to rally and help chase the bully back into the bunker.
4. And finally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,. who by the way was raised in an era when Jim Crow was not only tolerated, but was considered to be evidence for how the Old South was resolving the colored/white issue.
What a bizarre notion, to think that people of all colors should be able to ride on a bus together, when in your entire life you had been taught by your elders that separation was inevitable, if not righteous. And how grotesque it was to see little girls blown up in churches because your antics were being objected to by the white plurality.
I think the definition offered by Mr. Webster portrays that antics are displeasing and therefore perhaps should be shoveled away.
Yet without antics, we don’t have any of the practical nuts and bolts that somehow or another, miraculously hold this contraption together.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix