Saturday, 29 March 2008

A Glossary of Terms: Part One

The following terms do not enjoy wide circulation, but they should. I have included definitions and examples of proper usage in context:


Fulfordism:

* eponymous noun; derived from "Robert Fulford", Grub Street hack and relentlessly unctuous peddler of Canada-hating bromides; hence "Fulfordian", "Fulfordite", etc.


"Fulfordism" is the state of ethical and philosophical incoherence actuated whenever a patent mediocrity savagely denounces his nation for embodying the very vices that have afforded him the unmerited authority by which he makes his claims. Typically, the Fulfordite will complain that his countrymen "hate success" and are incapable of "excellence" while seemingly oblivious to how immeasurably far removed his own person and career remain from those lofty ideals.

"Amazing! Smith, who is chronically late and who takes two sick days off each week, was just heard whining about how inefficient our unit is. What a Fulfordian jackass!".



Banalysis:

* portmanteau noun; banal + analysis; hence "banalytic", etc.


"Banalysis" is the process by which the rote regurgitation of cliché and received opinion is passed of as the fruit of an authentic, critical engagement with the issues. It represents the fossilisation of thought. It is the counterfeit currency with which the media attempts to bribe the public into a resigned acquiescence before the status quo.


"Well, I guess I'll tune into "Mike Duffy Live" to hear all about the budget. He always provides decent banalysis".


Steynian:

* eponymous adjective; derived from "Mark Steyn", bumptious, laughably self-important neo-conservative hack.


"Steynian" is applied adjectivally to anyone who seeks to "defend" a civilisation while, in the process of doing so, displaying intellectual or ethical characteristics that are deeply inimical to it. Instances of this phenomenon can be calibrated using the "Steyn Factor" (SF) hierarchy:

1) Alpha Steyn Factor (ASF): this applies to a case where the Steynian actor, though ignoble, presents no significant threat to the civilisation he pretends to champion. The Steyn Factor is thus said to be in "latent effect". Mark Steyn is, himself, in this SF phase--unable to rise above mediocrity even in a self-defined endeavour.

2) Theta Steyn Factor (TSF): here, the actor is somewhat dangerous but in a way with which a healthy society can easily cope. The Steyn Factor is here said to be in "partial effect".

3) Omega Steyn Factor (OSF): at this stage, the actor has the power to bring utter catastrophe upon his society; the civilisation he has sought to save may need to be rebuilt from scratch. Here, the Steyn Factor is said to be in "full effect".


"When Joseph Goebbels maintained that only the National Socialist movement had the moral authority to destroy godless bolshevism and preserve Western Europe from Slavic rapine, he initiated a huge OSF".

25 comments:

Aeneas the Younger said...
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Aeneas the Younger said...

Well done.

I used to quite like Robert Fulford when he was editing "Saturday Night" in the 1970's and 1980's. I suspect the Canadian reading public's inability to recongnise its gererally high-quality of Journalism - which eventually contributed to its demise - has scarred him and turned him into a pathetic self-loathing whore to the first and last Lord Black, and then Izzy Asper. Sad ...

Mark Steyn also whored any talent he had - years ago. I used to like some of his stuff in "The Spectator."

Everybody has to eat, I guess. But what a price to pay for the meal.

Aeneas the Younger said...

As to Duffy: Who Cares, I mean really?

The Trusty Tory said...

It has begun. Check out my place, SF.

Red Tory said...

Speaking of the "Steyn Factor" I've been thinking a lot about that film "300" that was touted by the Kooky Cons a while back as a brilliant metaphor of the so-called "clash of civilizations" in which they love to frame the "War on Terra" and the titanic struggle against "Islamofascism" (or whatever they're calling it these days). My readings on Spartan culture make for some pretty chilling stuff in this regard.

Sir Francis said...

Red:

When my wife and I rented that movie last year, we had to pause the DVD every ten minutes so that we could wrap our arms around our rib-cages and collapse, laughing, into helpless heaps on the floor without missing anything.

The Spartans conceived as Speedo-wearing Chippendale dancers with perma-oiled washboard abdominals; the Persians conceived as lisping skater-punks with bodies that seem to have exhausted the resources of Lollapalooza's tattoo and piercing tents. It's an extended Looney Tunes short as directed by Richard Perle.

Remember "This...is...Spar-ta!"? My wife and I were saying that to each other for weeks. "What? You want me to take out the recycling? This...is...Spar-ta!".

Ti-Guy said...

Great post. I am stealing banalysis and will pass it off as my own invention. I was almost going to say that would be Fulfordian, but I realised that that act would not really be mediocre enough, would it?

Sir Francis, do you have any idea what motivates Fulfordianism among our elite? Is it because of what I've always suspected...that after a certain level of accomplishment/prestige up the ladder of Canadian elitism, no one but Fulfordites would have the requisite lack of character to go any farther or desire to remain there?

When I worked for the Ontario government, I had brushes with "so-called greatness," and just the memory of that brings on the nausea...

Red Tory said...

I have to confess to not having seen the film and also to not possessing the patience, interest, or fortitude to actually sit through it. Based on the clips however in addition to the glowing reviews and fulsome praise from the Kooky Con wingnuts over this piece of comic propaganda, I feel sufficiently qualified to make mockery of it and hold it out as an example of their stunning ignorance and wildly selective reading of history to bolster their corrupt ideology.

By the way, I’m glad you and your wife found it to be such a hoot. I especially like the idea of whimsically employing the rallying cry “This...is...Spar-ta!” whenever called upon to perform some wearisome task around the house.

Sir Francis said...

Ti-Guy:

...do you have any idea what motivates Fulfordianism among our elite?

I think it's largely a function of having internalised the American "gaze", to borrow a term from critical theory.

The truth is that journalists like Fulford and Steyn would de delighted if Canadian issues could be intelligibly discussed using an entirely American discourse, as this would give them a trove of ready-made concepts for easy deployment.

As it is, the Fulfords are required to acknowledge and negotiate Canada's cultural specificity. This seems awfully inefficient to them and makes their lives harder than they think is necessary. They consequently blame Canada for being unassimilable and for forcing them to use a discourse different from (and often at variance with) a far more glamorous discourse that provides people like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter with "clarity" and easy answers.

This is why they are such indefatigable proponents of Americanisation: the more American cultural features we appropriate, the more we can be accurately described in American terms. The more that happens, the less real thinking we have to do. This is no doubt an appealing prospect to anti-intellectual slugs like Steyn and Fulford.

Sir Francis said...

Red:

I have to confess to not having seen the film and also to not possessing the patience, interest, or fortitude to actually sit through it.

I understand your position completely, but, if you're ever in the mood for a "so-bad-it's-good" flick, you'll be richly rewarded. It's like watching a homoerotic version of Der Stürmer's comic pages in wide-screen. Delirious.

On another note, do you think our libertarian "Hugh" from the "Blasts from the Past" thread will be back after I pointed out that he seems unable to spell the names of the historical figures concerning whom he claims to be an expert?

Ti-Guy said...

Sir Francis, thanks for the insight.

It'd be interesting to find out the extent to which Stein and Fulford have actually read works by Canadians (especially fiction, which is where Canadian specificity is most accessible). I imagine, though, that the question alone would be met with severe eye-rolling, particularly in Stein's case.

Red Tory said...
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Red Tory said...

I remember when the film debuted and I talked to my son about it the day following his viewing. Of course, he was madly wild about it for all the obvious reasons (the stunning effects, action-packed combat, the blood and gore, hideous caricatures of the decadent Persian horde and so on… the whole captivating, exaggerated “video game” look and feel of it), but when I asked him what he thought about the more overtly homoerotic aspects of the film, based on what I’d heard from different reviews… Well, then he just looked at me with a blank, completely puzzled expression of incomprehension as if I’d suddenly dropped out of space and was now communicating in a different language. Needless to say THAT particular avenue of discussion went absolutely nowhere. It’s kind of funny how utterly tone-deaf some people can be to certain things at times.

Anyway, as for renting the movie, first of all I have deal with the irksome problem of getting a DVD player seeing as daughter #2 generously helped herself to ours when she moved out a several months ago. When I get around to it, I’m going to hit the local St. Vincent De Paul and see if I can’t get a unit to compliment my $6 television set (Yes… six measly dollars is what I paid for my TV… and it has excellent colour and stereo sound!) I’m figuring there will soon be a lot of HD DVD boxes around that can be picked up for a virtual song. Sometimes I just love being cheap. Or “thrifty” as the Scots prefer to call it. In addition to saving money, which is always a good thing, it’s a rather nice way of giving the finger to the corporate machine.

As for Hugh… Well, I don’t know. You were pretty rough on the poor fellow. I hope he’ll be back. Hey, at least he was forthright enough to lay his cards on the table about being a neo-liberal and quite obviously had little pretense about the agenda of the so-called “Conservative” Party — that’s not an admission you’ll get all that often from these folks.

Sir Francis said...

It'd be interesting to find out the extent to which Stein and Fulford have actually read works by Canadians...

Steyn et al. have made it quite clear that Canadians are utterly beneath them.

Sir Francis said...

...when I asked him what he thought about the more overtly homoerotic aspects of the film, based on what I’d heard from different reviews… Well, then he just looked at me with a blank, completely puzzled expression of incomprehension...

Well, I'm thinking about how I would have reacted had my father ever asked me about the "overtly homoerotic aspects" of a film, and, frankly, a "blank, completely puzzled expression of incomprehension" is likely all I would have been able to manage. My father and I just didn't have those kinds of discussions, unfortunately.

Red Tory said...

My father was very blunt and forthright in his opinions and a lot of that carried over to me it seems in the way I’ve always approached my kids and conversed with them. I’ve always tried to relate to them on a fairly adult level. It’s kind of a “swing and a miss” sort of thing, but nice when you connect.

Aeneas the Younger said...
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Aeneas the Younger said...

Not interested in "300" at all. I saw the preview at the Cinema, and decided right then and there that I would not be patronising a moving comic book.

I cannot handle historical discontinuity - it is for this reason that I refuse to see "Shakespeare in Love," and "Titanic."

I am simply not interested in being insulted like that.

Red Tory said...

I guess “counterfactual” works of historical fiction must absolutely drive you up the wall then.

Sir Francis said...

I guess “counterfactual” works of historical fiction must absolutely drive you up the wall then.

Heh: "“Counterfactual” works of historical fiction". Like the last Speech from the Throne?

Red Tory said...

Heh. That wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but that’s a pretty good description of just about any Throne Speech or “State of the Union” address, for that matter.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Red:

If they're done well and in continuity: No.

It drives my to distraction when Hollywood totally re-writes history, as in "The Great Escape," or "U-571."

Red Tory said...

Ah yes. Good examples. Mel Gibson's The Patriot is another bette noir of mine.

Aeneas the Younger said...

The mere idea of "The Patriot" - of which I have only seen offensive snippets on the tely - sends me into a fit of rage ...

Red Tory said...

It's an entirely maddening revisionist version of events filled with and willful fabrications. I guarantee that you'd blow a gasket watching it, especially when Gibson attempts to draw a parallel (based on an outrageous lie) between the British and the Nazis...