Thursday, October 11, 2007

Entertainment and Anglophilia

I was initially going to do something vastly different than this, but wasn't really feeling the whole "artificially imposing the binary approval thing just to be able to put a post up. Either way, the first part of this was originally a bit of one of those "plus/minus" posts that none of you remember, while the second half kind of grew out of that.

There are two things that I've recently gotten into which may or may not be profoundly geeky. The first is something I was actually very surprised existed, a podcast which seems to merely publish old copies of Dragnet from the days when it was a radio drama. I'm surprised at how well it was actually done, and it makes me wish I could track down the epidose "The LSD Story" (also known as "The Blueboy Episode") of the television drama which I think I recall being kind of hilarious. The other is something that, sadly, I kept away from until recently because of my own prejudices toward science fiction which is too campy, and is the recent relaunch (and I think seasons 27, 28 and 29) of Doctor Who. Sure, there's still big rubbery aliens and things designed by children, but discovering something that's such an institution in another country and finally getting to around to understanding what's up with these things has been enjoyable. And they seem to be able to put together a finale. Now if I can just convince the BBC to stop being so absurd with how much the charge to actually buy it.

So, I don't know. Perhaps I'll get a few more references and suddenly know who Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee and Elisabeth Sladen are and what on earth Gallifrey is and allowed me to be the only one in the room laughing when a few friends of mine and I were watching the recent Family Guy episode that spoofed Star Wars during the "traveling though hyperspace is weird" cutaway gag.. I suppose that's a bonus. Through an odd process of free association and intense consideration about how on earth I could come close to making this post have something to say, I've been dwelling on this weird obsession that my generation seems to have with all things British (that is, all things British which are easily accessible and which don't require you to think too hard about things and are mostly just plug-in-able). It's strange. Mostly on the internet (where people aren't real anyway), I continually come across people that I know to be Omaha or somewhere throwing British slang into the conversation, using alternate spellings and quoting the same Monty Python skits that everyone else quotes. And that's fine. I just can't get over the feeling that it's very, very forced. Perhaps part of it is that I tend not to use regional slang much (I don't think I have ever said "yinz" unless I'm actively trying to get across what it sounds like to grow up in Western Pennsylvania) and am fine with the way things are spelled in American English. That is, I don't buy into the argument thrown about by some Anglophiles that Americans dropped their "u"s because we just couldn't wrap our tiny minds around the concept of ending words in "our". Which is why I laughed when I looked into the etymology of "aluminum/aluminium" and it appears to stem from the same "false classicism" that prompts teenagers raised in Wichita to start spelling it "flavour."

"Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound"
-1812 Q. Rev. VIII. 72

This is despite the fact that the guy who first identified it as an element (who is actually a pretty astonishing figure that you should check out) originally called it "aluminum." Sure, it doesn't really matter as IUPAC currently accepts both, but it bothers me that one would change the name of an element to make it sound "more classical."

I suppose it's not that big a deal really, the whole Anglophilia thing. It strikes me as fake and indicative of kind of a whiny distaste for one's own background, but then most of my experience with the phenomenon is online which is, to borrow a phrase that friend once used against me, a "kingdom of lies." British culture is fantastic, and the number of cultural institutions which have relevance internationally is astonishing, but it's not mine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go dahn to Jynt Iggle and pick up some jumbo and chipped ham n'at. Seems like I always eat pierogies and kolbassi anymore, and I need to break up that cycle. First, though, I need to redd up this room and my bike needs washed and I can't go out like this, so I better plan on stopping by Pants N'At. Yinz better leave me to get back to that and stop being nebby.

Tony's Got It.

(If you haven't yet, click on that wikipedia link about halfway through the rant if you need some assistance in interpreting what the hell the last few sentences were about. It's hard to think in properly formed sentences now. Damn. I'm going to sleep.)

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