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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Treppenwitz: I Should Have Thought of That Sooner

I learned a new word last year, treppenwitz. OK, "learned" might be overstating it, because it subsequently slipped my mind.

It's of German origin, as you might surmise. It's that phenomenon that takes place when someone angers or frustrates you; the moment passes, and then 15 minutes later, you come up with that perfect rejoinder that would have turned your antagonist into a puddle of despair. Or so you would believe.

That smackdown to the rude driver you eviscerate, instead of saying, ""
Putting racist/sexist/homophobic commenters in their place with a such rapier-like wit that they are slackjawed.

I listen to the political talk shows or the Jerry Springer-type shows - in some ways, they're pretty much the same - and I know that if I were on one of them, I would suffer mightily, not because I don't have my facts or a sense of my own convictions, but because I'd likely get caught up trying to match snark with snark.

Ultimately, I think I'll stick with the written word thing. This is not to say that, someday, I wouldn't want to do a podcast. But it'd be MY podcast, or on a civil and friendly podcast of someone else's.
Speaking of words, I seriously had no idea of the primary meaning of the word 'teabagging' until this week, though someone said it was mentioned by a character in The 40-Year Old Virgin, which I saw. I think the tea party notion is silly; it may have been Arthur of AmeriNZ who said, "Taxation without reprsentation? I thought they were from the District of Columbia!" which DOES suffer from that political malady.
Because I like it: Susan Boyle.



Greg said...

I learned the word as a French phrase: l'esprit d'escalier, which essentially means the same thing: "the spirit of the staircase." I didn't know there was a German equivalent. It's easier to say, so maybe I'll have to switch to it.

Demeur said...

That reminds me of those far better than myself at snappy comebacks i.e. Groucho Marx and W.C Fields, but then us meer underlings of the art might just want to keep our mouths shut. Nothing worse than blowing the comeback and looking like a bigger fool.