If a lack of literary inspiration is ‘writer’s block’, is the inability to write a sex scene ‘writer’s cock block’?
Coming up to a general election in the UK, and the following continually springs to mind:
POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Ambrose Bierce – The Devil’s Dictionary.
While on Twitter yesterday, I noticed that a user had ‘cosmetologist’ listed in her bio. Being ignorant – and assuming it something to do with new age practices such as ‘astrology’ – I ignored it. It then came up again on a news page this morning, so I decided to investigate.
Turns out that it’s one of those inflated job titles – you know how caretakers and janitors are now premises managers and bin men are environmental maintenance officers? Essentially, it looks like a cosmetologist is a beautician.
Nothing wrong with that, except that the first step on the rung to becoming one probably means that you have to train as a ‘shampoo technician’. I’m going by the Wikipedia page here, but it gets more ridiculous the further that you read: apparently a ‘Cosmecaregiver’ works in a branch of cosmetology that “involves systematic coherent approach of newly developed medical beauty hygienic for hair, nails and skin of bedridden people.” What this means in plain English is up for debate – the whole page is couched in what linguists refer to as ‘utter bollocks’.
Along with the associated verb forms, we also have:
- Nailtekcaregivers, and
Admittedly, I’ve not seen any of these titles used in the UK, so I’m assuming that it’s a US thing. And, I’m not having a pop at beauty professionals in any way. It’s just that as a ‘wordtechologist’ qualified in ‘object-verb manipulation’ and ‘lexical syntax construction’, I find the nomenclature baffling…
Watching the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall last night, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the book and one line in particular prompted a big smile of recognition. For all the novel’s historical insight and deftly woven plot lines, it was the Duke of Norfolk’s frustrated ejaculation that stayed with me:
“Oh, by the thrice-beshitten shroud of Lazarus!”
Was there ever written such a perfectly worded oath?
Elsewhere in the novel, I seem to recall someone else exclaiming:
“By the hairy balls of Jesus”
Is it sad that these are the lines that I remember best, and not those spoken at the important moments in history that the book covers?
I keep passing billboard ads for a company that have appropriated the Mr Men for their latest campaign, in whcih ‘Mr First’ has been created in order to sell the virtues of low-commission currency transfers.
I know that this isn’t the first time that childhood favourites have been put to use in flogging goods and services to people, but there’s something about using the Mr Men that just seems plain wrong. They represent innocence and that golden time before we succumb to the grasping avarice of the world. To use them for a money transfer company feels out-of-place.
These used to be the books that got kids into reading. They are short, colourful, simply illustrated and with just enough text to encourage rudimentary reading skills. And, as an adult, I still have to admit getting a giggle out of reading the exploits of Mr Tickle. They don’t need to sully themselves with selling financial services.
The whole thing has, ironically, turned me into the character that they should have created for the campaign: Mr Cynical.