March 11, 2002
Pedantry Alert III: Venusians Or . . .?

An Instapundit link just introduced me to the triply-named Andrea Harris / Ye Olde Blogge / Spleenville.Com blog. Thanks, Glenn! The whole rant, Stupid Columnist Tricks, was a delight, but I have one tiny quibble. Among much else, Harris writes:

. . . does Ms. Bunting think that enemies we had before September 11th suddenly became our friends after that day? Then who were those people dancing in the streets, burning flags, and saying we had it coming? Venusians?

Unfortunately, as any Latinist will tell you, the correct adjective for 'pertaining to Venus' is not 'Venusian' but 'Venereal' and these people are therefore presumably 'Venereans'. Doesn't that sound more sleazily appropriate? (Just as the 'Martial' in martial arts means 'pertaining to Mars, god of war', and 'Martian' means 'inhabitant of Mars', so with Venus and the other planets.)

Tangential Points:

1. 'Venereal disease' was originally a tasteful euphemism by which syphilis and gonorrhea -- remember when there were only two to worry about? -- were called 'love diseases'. As often happens with euphemisms, instead of bringing up the signified it just drags down the signifier. (Sorry about the lapse into trendy jargon: it won't happen again.) The same thing has happened to 'erotic' (from Eros), at least when applied to movies, where it usually means XXX, and 'aphrodisiac' (from Aphrodite).

2. In her previous post, Stupid Student Alert, Harris says that she is "currently a Humanities Major taking a Creative Writing Minor at the University of Central Florida". I'd love to see what she could do with a major in Inhumanities and minor in Destructive Writing. She's already a veritable Truckasaurus of the verbal arena.

3. Scrolling down to Saturday, I see that Harris predicts a fate worse than death for Ted Rall: Hollywood Squares. I wish I'd thought of that. Can we start a pool on his first appearance date? If so, I give him two years to lose his fame and a little more for desperationi to set in: April 23rd, 2004. Should we call this the Might-As-Well-Be-Dead Pool? (Harris' thoughts on why we shouldn't just try to ignore him are also good.)

4. Would it be worthwhile, or just sick, to do a version of the Dancing Hampsters website with dancing Palestinians celebrating mass murder? To remind us of what we're up against, I mean. Just sick, actually. Forget I said it. Time to go to bed. Plenty more to post in the morning, but it's late and now my toes are really sore.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 11, 2002 10:30 PM