Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Crestfallen

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crestfallen: (adj) dejected and discouraged

It is astounding to me how many words have been exiled to the “Island of Unwanted Syllables.”

They used to be popular–then somebody or a bunch of nobodies got together and decided they sounded old-fashioned. Of course, that was their death knell. Anything that sounds old-fashioned to a younger generation is immediately rejected and becomes a code word for uncool.

Crestfallen is certainly a better term to describe what occasionally happens to us humans, instead of falling back on dimmer terms, like depressed, bummed out, or under the weather.

I guess we favor the term “depressed” because it seems to have a clinical, physiological component to it, instead of just being us, greatly disappointed and discouraged. I suppose I could even give you a list of things that leave me crestfallen, which make me wish that life was different or that circumstances were changed, or people were more enlightened.

But sharing these pains and frustrations with you would only end up being depressing, with me unable to use the more effective term of crestfallen.


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Accent

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accent: (n.) a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality or social class

Anyone who spends any time whatsoever in theater realizes that it is often a bigoted representation of society’s perception of all races and nationalities.

What I mean by that statement is that if you’re playing a part in a production and your director wants you to convey a certain immediate energy to the audience, he will often ask you to consider using an accent to trigger an image or attitude in the mind of the hearer.

Could anything be more prejudiced? Yet it is standard practice–and an admission that we human beings often draw conclusions based on what we hear and therefore perceive.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you’re playing the part of a snobby, high-falutin’; upper-class woman. The suggestion may be made to give her a British accent–therefore concluding that all Brits are really pricks.

Are you gonna play a boxer in the movie? Then you probably should have a New Jersey accent–“Joisey.”

Let me run a few more:

  • Mafia? Italian, of course.
  • A slick gigolo lover? French.
  • A bigoted ignoramus? A Southern Dixie accent.
  • How about a surfer? A California Valley-girl accent.
  • What if the part demands you be a spy? I would suggest a Russian accent.
  • A karate champion? Japanese.
  • How about a dictator? Gotta be German.

Since it is so obvious that we equate certain attributes to accents, it might be a good idea to be careful how you round your r’s and punch your syllables.

Because as much as we may discount the value of prejudice, it was here when we arrived–and it will stand over our graves.