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Posts Tagged ‘Newspeak’

…On Mixed Drinks.

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2008

Last night, I had blue balls. Or, actually, maybe it was blue balls that I had… no, I think I just had blue balls… Ok, regardless, I had blue balls last night.

I think you’re getting my points. 1) So many mixed drinks have delightfully raunchy names. 2) So many seem to be a delightfully raunchy name with no standard definition attached to it. In point of fact, I believe the drink I had consisted of blueberry vodka, blue curacao, peach schnapps, soda, and a dash of lemon. Similar to, but not exactly the same as, one of the linked-to-recipes.

Point #1’s just a fun tidbit. Point #2, well… on the one hand, it should be profoundly satisfying since it can be explained as an application of the mutability of a living vernacular. Not that precise definition of the term “blue balls” is the sort of thing that an Academy of the English Language would likely concern itself with, but still. If some bartender out in Kansas starts serving Jack Daniels, creme de menthe, gin, and Red Bull when customers order “blue balls”, then in the unlikely event people keep ordering that there, bam, the word’s acquired a new meaning. A trivial application of a vital grand concept: language through time is like life through time, subject to natural evolution and to evolution through selective breeding (biologists be damned, chihuahuas are not canis lupus anymore. More like rattus chihuahuacus.) Yes, it sucks in that it decreases the precision of language – there is definitely something to be said for the idea of a language in which every word has exactly one and only one denotation and connotation so that infinite gradations of meaning can be communicated with inerrant precision due to words serving as quanta of meaning (essentially, a vocabulary that’s the exact opposite of Newspeak). But, hey, you want that, just make a deliberate effort to speak and write that way and work towards breeding the language you want. It’ll take the cooperation of others and may be the work of generations, but it can be done.


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