Friday, April 27, 2018

A time for semantics (part 2)

“Van attack” has a “short sharp shock” metre going for it, but, for assonance, “van rampage” – the name the Toronto Star and Huffington Post are pushing – is hard to beat. And it has a spirit of something more extraordinary, of old made new, beast made man, of erratic movement and duration, of predictable unpredictability.
     “1715, in Scottish, probably from Middle English verb ramp ‘rave, rush wildly about’ (c. 1300), especially of beasts rearing on their hind legs, as if climbing, from Old French ramper (see ramp (n.1), also see rampant).”
     Yeah, on this one, that’s all I got.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A time for semantics (part 1)

Some earlier mass killings-by-vehicle, e.g., “the Berlin Christmas Market attack” or “the London Bridge attack” are named for more specific places. This one, on our “longest street in the world,” makes “Yonge Street van attack” unworkable.
     But is calling this “the Toronto van attack” (CNN, The Guardian, Globe & Mail, National Post) a done deal? How events get their names is the question of Peter Eglin, who traces how a 1989 event initially called terrorism, tragedy, and disaster, became “the Montreal Massacre.” Holocaust, Shoah, Final Solution: names encapsulate our views of cause, effect, rightness, wrongness, extraordinariness, ownership, and appropriate redress.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In a Surreal World

Is Exquisite Corpse dead or merely moribund?
     The Corpse’s last post was made in November, 2016. Since then, Donald Trump has become U.S. President and Ford Nation has returned to life. In the Corpse’s absence, Britain is careening towards Brexit, ice caps are melting, hurricanes and blizzards are rampant, gunmen are rampaging, plastic particles are clogging the sea and our drinking water. By my count there have been five new Marvel Universe films released since the Corpse’s last breath. Can you dismiss any of this as coincidence? What kind of Bizarro World is this? (Disclosure: I’ve always preferred DC myself.)
Cartoon drawn by Jake Tapper of CNN.

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