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Old May 22nd, 2014 #17
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 44,670
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Alex Linder

On Language
Rummaging in the Brummagem

By Alex Linder

May 22, 2014

Last week we hit D.F. Wallace; this week, as I said last week, we'll deal with some words found in Russell Kirk's book on academia, higher learning as he calls it, the subject of our last podcast (#009). Let's get to it.

1) brummagem -

One of Kirk's go-to epithets for what-the-university-has-become. Used alternatively with Behemoth U. In short, Ed Ukashunizm's Big and Cheap shop for people of college age with nothing to do and capable of taking on debt. Before looking it up, let's run a test. I think of brummagem as a box of cheap trinkety crap as one would find at a garage sale. Costume jewelry, basically. It definitely connotes rummage to me, as in rummage sale, because of the sound. But I'm not precisely sure that's what brummagem means. So many words are like this - one thinks one knows what they mean, but is either wrong or a little off. So it never hurts to look anything up.

So we do, and...I'll be damned. It's a lot closer to a word we'll examine next -- meretricious -- than I'd thought. It's not even pronounced as I thought. It's BRUM-uh-juhm. Not -gem but -jum, for the last syllable.

brum·ma·gem [bruhm-uh-juhm]
1. showy but inferior and worthless.
2. a showy but inferior and worthless thing.

Origin: 1630–40; local variant of Birmingham, England (Compare Bromwichham, Bromecham (17th century), Middle English Burmingeham ); orig. in allusion to counterfeit coins produced there in the 17th cent.
Ah...there we go. That's how we remember it. It's named after Birmingham. That makes sense. And counterfeit coins produced there. Easy to remember now.

I think it probably still applies pretty well to costume jewelry vs. real jewelry.

2) meretricious -

This is a good term. Easy to remember. It means having the tawdry appeal of a prostitute. Pronounced exactly as you'd think.

mer·e·tri·cious [mer-i-trish-uhs] Show IPA
1. alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry.
2. based on pretense, deception, or insincerity.
3. pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.

Origin: 1620–30; < Latin meretrīcius of, pertaining to prostitutes, derivative of meretrīx prostitute = mere-, stem of merēre to earn + -trīx -trix; see -ous
It's a particularly good word used for any sector in which we find professional-whorelike conduct, i.e. for anything democratic-political. Cheap and deceptive, eh? That describes pretty much all socialism, all left-wing solutions. Anything that panders is meretricious. I've used this word many times in my writing; it goes very naturally with appeal. What we meaning I have picked up from looking it up is the element of deception the term can signify. That adds another element I can play with in future uses. Notice again how perfectly suited the word is to descriptions of democrats, small-d, and the pandering they call politics.

3) Educationism -

A near-neologism used by Kirk. As he's a VIS, very important scholar, you won't catch an august sage such as Kirk inventing new words; his kind doesn't go in for that low activity, which is better left to 'clever' 'journalists' and others beneath the august and empyrean realm inhabited by the masters of cerebration. While the naming of unundiscovered sponges may be strictly necessary to certain factoti in the biology department, neologismizing has no place in the higher reaches of advanced intellection, i.e, the history department. Nevertheless, Kirk felt the mild creation of Educationism were needed to describe the post-war phenomenon he describes in his book, namely, the metastasizing of the modest, effective college into the full-blown 'multiversity' cancer. Educationism is the basic belief of the NEA crowd - that what the NEA offers is 'education'--; that every implumous biped can and should be educated to its full potential. The latter belief is enough to instruct the unaddled that the NEAists aren't particularly well suited by nature or training to teach, though that is their 'profession,' as they like to think of it. Growth for the sake of growth - all funded through taxes and federally supported student debt programs. It may be taken as a rule that admits of few exceptions: anyone using the term 'education' repeatedly and in the manner of a cheerleader...is an idiot. It's simply a media-parroted middle-class mantra. We better ourselves through education. Education is seen as the means to 'improve' oneself, to make more money, which is the real desire and meaning behind the concept. The user doesn't precisely understand this, but if he does, he sees nothing wrong with it. He can't even grasp an objection to it, or englobulate an alternative conception. When this type winds up as assistant manager at Pottery Garden owing 50k to Brummagem U., it still never makes the connection. Everybody says it. Everybody is always right. Education! Education! Education! It's a belief, it's a debt, it's a panacea. It's a farce, it's a scam, it's a joke. But Educationism is very real as a belief and attitude, and this word will continue to be useful so long as 'public schools' exist and the moll media shriek cheers for it and fleer its enemies. (If you're an NEA victim, there's roughly a 99.9% chance you don't believe fleer is a word.)

4) vaticinations -

This is a good term with a very specific meaning. It's for someone who sees the future, with a hint of jebus-told-me. Thus, the perfect term to use in describing the eye-roll antics of the good-book crowd when they begin their usual durring.

va·tic·i·na·tion [vuh-tis-uh-ney-shuhn, vat-uh-suh-] Show IPA
1. an act of prophesying.
2. a prophesy.
The civilized man always mocks enemies with an eye toward destroying them. Chip away at their idea of themselves by comparing them to prostitutes, animals, or any other thing that's low, disreputable or foolish. This is useful word in that direction. Notice that it's not pronounced the way it might appear. It's VUH, not VAT, and the accent is on the penultimate syllable. (Note that the definitions I use are from dictionary.com because they have an audio link so you can hear the term being spoken. I don't often post the link, but you can easily look them up.) When we learn these new words, it is important, first, to understand how the term is pronounced. Then we move on to meaning. Then usage. We do not prejudice literal or denotative usage over comedic, as the common run of rutabagas do; if anything, the opposite.

Make your opponent a figure of fun. A red-clay cardinal. Pope of the dirt eaters. I mean, the actual pope is clownish enough; how much the funnier some low-rent halfwit dripping dirt out of his mouth while quotating what he inevitably calls Revelations. (It's Revelation. No, I'm wrong, retard, and you're right.) Like I said, which bears repeating though I suffer Jebuslike the indignity of having to underline it myself, the Bible is the favorite book of...people who don't read books. There's something profound in that.

I knew I would regret myself in the morning for not saving a story I read on yahoo news last night. It was about that woman whose car went off the road in a forest. She was barely rescued a week later. Lost both her legs. Her statements to the media evinced low-rent bibltardism. She didn't use the actual phrase everything happens for a reason, an asininity dear to the heart of the underbrained, but she might as well have. This horrible accident and injury meant something. It was a message to her. She hadn't figured out what the message was yet, but she was going to.

This is how dumb people think. Everything is a Sign, pregnant with Great Meaning. You just have to Know how to Interpret Things. That's why you have a helper book like Revelations, as they inevitably call it. Weak little stupid people are strengthened in their misconvictions about the way the world works by evil christian charlatans such as G.K. Chesterton who go out of their way to denounce cause-and-effect and thereby teach the common folk that logic and reasoning (hence their brains) don't actually work.

It is for people like these wits of nit that a term like vaticinations is most useful. You see, the genuinely learned folk will stick to very mildly wry uses of the term, but it's better used wetter for the incredibly stupid things that never cease to pour out of the mouths of bible fools, to be redundant. Indeed, the very term vaticinations has no real non-mocking use. It's always the pinheads who know just what god has in store; the ilk that is famous for predicting the end of the world on some specific day...and then bemoaning stupidly and red-faced after they sell off all their worldly possessions and the unexpected happens.

It's like I said: if the mind of a Baptist were as transparent as one of those goldfish, you wouldn't dare to go outdoors of a diurnal period. The minds of most of the so-called human population, and I'm talking about whites, not even niggers, is so hagridden and spook-besotted that it's a wonder society exists in any form. Human is properly reserved, in my opinion, for a very small subset of hominids.

Every day is a Day of Great Disappointment for those forced to live among the subhumans called christians.

This is the type of man-monkey

that emits vaticinations. It is the duty of all true humans, to mock this type whenever it appears above ground. Never give jebus dogs any quarter, they don't deserve it. At best they're passives; at worst, like this Miller, they're lunatics.

Look at the guy's stupid pig face. Look at his stupid inward eyes, his not-hearing-it mouth. Christ-insanity, as I say, is the opposite of civilization.

It was Oct. 22, 1844. On this day, as many as 100,000 Christians gathered on hillsides, in meeting places and in meadows. They were breathlessly and joyously expecting the return of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The crowds had assembled because of the prophetic claim of an upstate New York farmer and Baptist layman named William Miller (1782-1849). He was certain from his studies of the Bible that Jesus Christ was going to return on that day.
Yeah...they're all like that. They're all cock-certain of things that can't be verified. When they dare to shart out something falsifiable, that's when it turns out, well, their Bible-derived certainties are so many coins from Birmingham. Yeah verily, the brummagem certainties of the Bill Miller crowd are to be laughed at, to be spit on, to be stomped on.

Just the thought of the wailing that must have ensued among those assembled boobs of yahoo when it finally dawned on them it the alt-Great Pumpkin wasn't coming gladdens my heart. Idiots be with us always, and it's our -- your and my -- duty to play wack-a-mole with their reputation and sense of self. Attack them and never let up.

Never let the christ-man forget he's a moron. Never let him forget his entire philosophy is based on spooks and spirits and haints. Never let him forget he's a tool. That's your duty as the thing that actually qualifies as human, as distinct from the things merely walking around on two legs and not possessing feathers.

5) factotum -

You know Mr. Burns on the Simpsons? You know his secretary Smithers? Smithers is a factotum. A factotum is like a secretary, a go-fer, a stepin fetchit. The term doesn't necessarily have a negative or pejorative meaning, but it's of natural use in the vocabulary of invective, as we seek to belittle our opponent. As I've said, comparing our enemy to prostitutes or animals is always good. Each area of the world, each concern of man, will have its particular jargon. Any sector that is low or diseased or in some way negative will have particular words or usages of common words which can be adapted to our destructive, critical purpose. There's nothing wrong with being a secretary, of course. But if someone, say our enemy, has visions of himself as something higher, say an august, noble personage of high and haughty independence, we can pop his balloon by clothing him in the language of the common smith-ers, the smothered fanboys and servants of the real men. C. Montgomery Burns is The Man. Smothered smithers is the fanboy everyman - the factotum. We could attack George Will (if this were the '80s) or William F. Buckley as the factotums of the jews. Somewhat similar to pegboy, which we covered in an earlier column, but less insulting and of slightly different meaning. Factotum is a term that shows your knowledge, ye wishing to figure-cut; it's one of those semi-obscure terms that fits a particular situation, similar to meretricious. It's in the useful-unfamiliar range, as it were. Factotum has plenty of non-insulting uses. Here's how Kirk used it:

Yet in that rough hour, when many voices demanded some qualitative reform of the higher learning, there tripped upon the stage Dr. Clark Kerr -- Multiversity Kerr, late of Berkeley, in 1969 a factotum of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching -- to inform us that all we needed was more of the hair of the dog that bit us.
fac·to·tum [fak-toh-tuhm] Show IPA
1. a person, as a handyman or servant, employed to do all kinds of work around the house.
2. any employee or official having many different responsibilities.
1560–70; < Medieval Latin, equivalent to Latin fac make, do (imperative of facere ) + tōtum, neuter of tōtus all
So a factotum is an all-doer. Multi-purpose tool. Human garden weasel! So you see how Kirk uses it - Kerr is simple a duly purchased house intellectual for the Carnegie Foundation. He's the monkey dancing and collecting quarters while the Foundation is the organ grinder.

The days of the
Street_organ Street_organ
are long behind us, but the metaphor is so inherently funny that it will never stop being used, at least by me.

You see how Kirk uses factotum. It's literally true, in that Kerr does do different duties for Carnegie, but the reason Kirk uses the term is to reduce the stature and status of Kerr; to bring him down to the ranks of the smitherses - the service classers, the order takers, the running dogs, the tools.

Anyway, factotum is a good and useful word both for ordinary denotative but also critical connotative purposes.

6) commination -

This was the one term in Kirk's book that was new to me. I've seen it before, but I could not remember what it meant. Let's look it up. Then we'll find it's a fancy (fancy = Latin or Greek, always) Latin term for threat.

com·mi·na·tion [kom-uh-ney-shuhn] Show IPA
1. a threat of punishment or vengeance.
2. a denunciation.
3. (in the Church of England) a penitential office read on Ash Wednesday in which God's anger and judgments are proclaimed against sinners.
So it's a religious term...just never came across it. Could certainly be useful, but it falls into the category of difficult to remember because it's spelled like so many other words, sounds vaguely like many other words, and you don't see it around very often. The only reason I might remember it is that religious angle. I would be likelier to use the adjectival form were I writing in the Nielsen-ponderous-stupid vein. 'After this comminatory effusion, he seemed to relent a bit, and some of the whiteness returned to his face.' Something along those lines. You simply can't use an uncommon term such as commination, unless you're the late William F. Buckley, without intending a comedic effect, such as Nielsenesque ponderosity, or you will be taken as an airs putter oner, out trotting your vocabular bichon frise, or whichever's the snooty pooch du jour. Oh. You knowzum bigum words. No, you don't do it like that. You use the term threat. You need a reason to use a rare word that isn't any better than a common one. It's not like commination has any particular charms of person. It's rather a plain girl, we should say. It may pack some power, like Mona Barthel, but it aint exactly proof against erectile dysfunction. The reason to invoke it would normally be humor. After all, our duty life is not to assemble on a green hill to await the return of a science fiction character, but to condescend to obnoxious others, to attack them, while amusing and delighting and educating onlookers. And also to avoid getting soup on our ties, preferably by not wearing them. A third duty, as the ghost of Oscar Wilde bids me say, lies ununundiscovered.

That will do it for words from Kirk. Moving on . . .

Funny how memory works. I seem to recall 'apish veneration' of women used by Schopehauer, but on rereading his chapter on women last night, I could not find it. There were apes. There was veneration. But there was no 'apish veneration.' Which I could have sworn... That's how memory works, too often.

Schopenhauer said this:

-- This is how the peoples of antiquity and of the Orient have regarded women; they have recognized what is the proper position for women far better than we have, we with our Old French gallantry and insipid women-veneration, that highest flower of Christian-Germanic stupidity which has served only to make women so rude and arrogant that one is sometimes reminded of the sacred apes of Benares which, conscious of their own sanctity and inviolability, thought themselves at liberty to do whatever they pleased.
Delicious! Here's your introduction to the "sared apes of Benares" if, like me, you were heretofore innocent of them.

7) apish -

Let's get apish right, because in our age there is too much primatic activity to go without. Looking up...it's pronounced as you think: ape-ish.


1. having the qualities, appearance, or ways of an ape.
2. slavishly imitative.
3. foolishly affected; silly.
There's a nice use by Willard P. Jacques-Pierre:

"Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy-apish nation
Limps after in base imitation."
Think of Nickard Griffin, the Snickengriff as he is known among political 'scientists,' sneaking off to Greece to learn how it's done.

Folks, this is a delightful word. I personally feel ashamed I have not used it more often. This is a failure on my part I must and will rectify.

Apish as a wigger...' Apish as Miley Cyrus trying to twerk.

There is the verb to ape. Which comes from apes and their apely activities, which include imitating others. But when whites imitate niggers, their apishness embarrasses their entire race.

Notice that, per our friend dic:

family Pongidae (great ape) which includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, and the family Hylobatidae (lesser ape) which includes the gibbon and siamang.
The comedic uses will suggest themselves. Leaping around in my mind: "That will separate the pongids from the hylobats."

It should go without saying that a deep knowlege of apes, their classifications, activities and history can only improve one's ability to insult enemies and describe what are flavorlessly and inaccurately referred to as black people.

Don't forget apocrine, either. That's the armpit stench of niggers, the chemical that produce the nigsmell. Apocrine-Americans isn't nearly common enough. Checking, it's pronounced AAP-uh-krin. Short i in that last syllable, not long as I had thought. Even better for mocking up African-American.

8) in need of

A wordy replacement for 'need.' I heard this all the time now. Just heard it on Party Line radio show. Why say I need a cure for dandelionitis when you can say more impressively "I am in need of..." It's gover-clunky and mock-august without the mock. Stilted for the people, as R.E.M. would
Automatic_for_the_People Automatic_for_the_People
it. Just staaaahp, as the hefty-lefties say.

All right, as the party clown said under his breath, I've twisted enough balloon animals for you people. I'll be back next week with more warm bread and cold water.//