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NTMP #19: Longbottoming Out
That's MISTER Shart to you, u bum!
New-to-me Phrases, June 5, 2022
Fugly hag stroll * Pink slime journalism * My smooth round children * Three commas * Mrs. Hart * Nerd Sniping * Longbottoming
The Phrases, with Context
This week we have a TikTok takedown, fake news dystopia, a license plate blooper, and some bonus fun stuff at the end from readers.
1. Fugly hag stroll
This one comes from my friend Lindsay, who yelled at me this morning for not sending this out early enough. HERE IS IS, LINDS! GEEZ!
I’m not on TikTok, nominally for privacy reasons but primarily because I have ADHD and cannot afford another rabbit hole app in my life. And besides, everyone shares TikToks on other media, so I don’t even need an account.
Anyway, I guess “hot girl walk” is a TikTok thing (🙄🙄🙄), and Kate Glavan posted a rebuttal that she calls “fugly hag stroll.” Lemme dust off my Crocs and head out.
2. Pink slime journalism
My friend John shared this one and somehow, I feel like I’d heard it before but 1) I have a notoriously bad memory, 2) I do what I want here, and 3) it’s a solid phrase worth knowing, especially in these ::gestures vaguely at everything:: times.
For a deep dive, here’s a four-part Columbia Journalism Review (you know, an actual journalism source—remember those?) series on this disturbing new-ish practice of funding and creating partisan media outlets designed to resemble legitimate news sources.
Journalism, facts, and critical thinking matter, kids! Tell your friends!
3. My smooth round children
I’ve lived in my current home—a 1950 brick ranch—for three years now. Earlier this year, we finally painted our main living space, replacing the dated and horrifying-to-me goldenrod with a bright aqua blue. This entire time, our art has languished in shipping boxes in our basement.
I blame pandemic apathy.
I’ve followed science writer and naturalist Rosemary Mosco for years on Twitter and it never occurred to me to look for her on Instagram now that I seldom use Twitter (and will absolutely quit if a certain billionaire trashboy buys it).
Mosco also creates charming and very funny cartoons as “Bird and Moon,” like this one:
This was a long way to travel to tell you that I think it’s time I ordered a print from Bird and Moon to adorn my freshly painted walls.
Note: I realize that “my smooth round children” is more of a sentence than a phrase, but as stated earlier, I do what I want here.
4. Three commas
The Morning Brew newsletter used this phrase to describe LeBron James, author of one of the best-ever dunks on Trump, for earning billionaire status. I’d never read this phrase in reference to billionaires, preferring instead “planet killers,” “wealth hoarders,” or “all-around garbage people.” (King James excepted, of course.)
5. Mrs. Hart
Adrienne Marie Brown’s work in social justice, facilitation, and mind-body movement is so grounded and satisfying and resonant. But I also love that she knows a good meme and shares them often on Instagram, including this one:
In reply to me sharing this on IG, my friend Leah dropped a masterful riff on this ‘80s TV gem.
6. Nerd Sniping
This weekend I attended the first in a series of summer writing meetups hosted by a local phrase herders Atrocious Poets and set in a spacious barn in the midst of restoration. I can’t overstate the value of gatherings like this, to be present with other writers and to focus on our works in progress. Just by having this serene beautiful space, I was able to find a new through line into an essay I haven’t touched in over a year.
Being a creative in a small town has its perks, in that you tend to run into the same weirdos at events like this, including my friend Marlene, who is both a numbers wizard and a damn fine photographer. After the meetup, she was gracious enough to say she loves this newsletter (thanks!), and that she wanted to share this phrase.
Nerd sniping requires you to be the kind of friend who enjoys trolling your friends by sending them into a research wormhole. This xkcd comic explains it nicely.
(Also, I am totally that kind of friend.)
My friend Zee and I were discussing whether it’s possible to still love Harry Potter knowing that J.K. Rowling is a TERF when this phrase came up. I find it harder to enjoy HP these days than some, but am apt to follow the lead of my Gen Z kids, who feel comfortable separating the fandom from the creator. YMMV.
Feel free to start a comment thread—a cool and little-used feature that I hope begins to gain traction among my fellow word nerd readership here—to discuss:
ANYWAY, back to the phrase. In case you aren’t up on the series, the character Neville Longbottom undergoes quite a transformation in the Harry Potter series. Matthew Lewis, the actor who played him did as well.
Nutshell: Longbottoming (variant: ‘Neville Longbottoming’) is HP fans’ version of the ugly duckling story, except the swan goes shirtless for photo ops on occasion.
Fun fact: We call our African grey parrot, who has a red tail, Neville Redbottom.
Reader Notes and Other Stuff
Gumi, aka Red Birb, has a ridiculous ‘laugh’ that gets funnier every time you hear it:
2. My friend Tim, a talented artist whose work I’m lucky enough to own, pointed out that the hypnotoad reference from NTMP #17 was a Futurama reference. It’s been so long since I’ve watched that I’d forgotten! 🤦🏼♀️ Thanks for the context, Tim! 🐸
3. Lindsay strikes again! When I wrote about the Literature Clock in NTMP #17, she shared this link to Books Around America, which shares books located near a given location. I guess nothing popular is set in my town, and the weirdly always vaguely disappointing town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is the closet literary spot. Womp-womp. (This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Wood, Screws, and Nails (Hard Hats #1) by Piper Vaugn, in case you’re wondering.)
Share what written works took place near you in a comment:
That’s all for this week. Thanks to everyone for reading this nonsense and sending such tasty phrases.
Go forth and be curious!