NTMP 75: Bork bork bork
Making words up as we go along
New-to-me Phrases, July 16, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
Welcome to another edition of New-to-me Phrases, a weekly roundup of words and phrases celebrating curiosity, language, and humor. This week, we have more than one goofy bird-themed phrase, an unexpected cinematic trend, an inadvertently in-depth exploration of a made-up word (but aren’t they all, really?), and more.
Let’s get to it!
adrienne maree brown is an author, poet, healer, postcaster, singer-songwriter, and more. While researching this phrase, I discovered that she co-hosts a read-along podcast about sci-fi author Octavia Butler and has a Butler-themed tarot deck in the works!
brown is also a meme aficionado over on Instagram. Her posts (like this one, slides 1 & 9 or this one slide 6 (sound on!)—which garnered the A+ comment “not Gru jamming out to Sade”—or this one, slides 1&2) make me laugh so hard I either choke on one of the four beverages I’m simultaneously consuming at any given time OR my own saliva, because I’m graceful and talented.
Back to the phrase: I found this word via one of Brown’s masterful meme collections, and according to Dictionary.com, it is of Greek origin and it means:
Having well-shaped buttocks.
The defense rests, your honor! 🍑
Speaking of Sade, the reverence the characters show for her on the brilliant show Reservation Dogs was such a great micro-bit in a stellar season 2 episode (Stay Gold, Cheesy Boy).
If you haven’t caught this show yet, 1) watch this series trailer and 2) add it to your must-watch list immediately. Co-creator Sterlin Harjo shared recently on IG (swipe to read all of the slides) that season 3 will be the last, for “we’ve achieved what we came here to do” reasons.
2. Rainbow chicken
This phrase comes from Instagram, where the account _little_dinos_ posted a montage of “Crimes the rainbow chicken committed today,” which include using a water glass as a bathtub, stealing seed, and violent assault (finger bite).
This appears to be a recurring series. Other crimes include: cannibalism (eating a chicken egg), public defecation (always), murder . . . of a raspberry, and illegal spying (peering down at a human from high above).
3. Himalayan fur goblin
My middle kid (who does not read this newsletter) sent me this Instagram bit from alex.neffell called unbelievable animals you’ve never heard of. The Himalayan fur goblin is actually a conure, described as “one of the planet’s deadliest animals” and a “mind altering parasite.” LOL. You can see the full video at the link, which I highly recommend unless you hate cute funny posts about birds and are therefore dead to me.
It happened: I fell for a meme on social media.
It happens to the best of us. This is what I tell myself. I follow an excessive number of bird-related accounts and one showed a “word of the day” Reel with birds that read:
seatherny [seth-er-nee] - noun
the serenity one feels when listening to the chirping of birds
Except . . . this isn’t a word. At least not that I can find in online dictionaries.
I tried researching how to locate the first instance of a word online, but that brought results about how to check a website for its publication date. I decided to click the first Google result for the word seatherny, and see when that was published.
Turns out, a California-based writer named Gregory Venvonis created something called the Vowlenu Lexicon, where he shares words he’s invented as a self-published paranormal romance writer.
From there, it looks like a ton of Facebook pages that share inspo quotes with gauzy New Age-y images picked up this word and shared it as if it were real. Which, at this point, it kind of is? I wonder what a lexicographer would think. Perhaps I should ask one and report back.
While mired in this search, I found a related phrase in a post on Big Think called Gökotta: How to Experience Nature the Swedish Way:
Gökotta is a Swedish concept that involves waking up early to experience the stillness of the morning and appreciate the beauty of nature, particularly birdsong.
This time I googled the word and it seems that it’s probably real, according to a word of the day feature in a site called The Local Sweden. However, elsewhere online there’s that same assortment of soothing images paired with this word along with a smattering of similar articles published on sites that seem credible on the surface with the usual whiff of click bait. So THEN I started looking at Swedish-to-English translations of Gökotta and there seems to be something credible there. Google Translate says otta means eight in English, but also there was this bit:
On the occasion of Trinity Night, numerous morning walkers were out to celebrate "gökotta" in Hagaparken. SD(L) 1901, no. 251, p. 2.
Google Translate says gök means cuckoo in Swedish. So the modern interpretation of enjoying birdsong in the morning might make sense.
There are a couple of reasons I shared how I learned about these words. First of all, this is literally what I do for fun 🤓 and maybe you’re into it, too. Second, social media is made for quick glances and fast sharing without thinking. And that’s how misinformation and disinformation spread so easily. Taking the time to click through and completely read an article or vet a source is often time well spent—but you have to actively fight the algorithms to do so.
Bonus: The Strange Maps series at Big Think is pretty great, btw.
5. Assholes with casseroles
This is the latest nickname for extremist hate group Moms for Liberty that I’ve seen circulating.
Alternative nicknames I’ve seen out there include Klanned Karenhood and Twatzis.
I find all of these funny! And also problematic! As in, “let’s not minimize the Holocaust even more than we already are” problematic.
Also, I’m not really down with misogyny or mocking the valuable unpaid work that mothers do, which is usually where this sort of social commentary goes.
For example, I have always hated the phrase “soccer mom,” because it’s dismissive of what it means to be a parent, particularly a mom. Have you ever sat on the sidelines of a soccer match at 8 a.m. on a cold, windy weekend day while a bunch of four-year-olds run in the wrong direction or lie down on the field for most of the game? The ultimate sacrifice!
Seriously, though - “'just” a mom is almost always implied when “soccer mom” is deployed. A minimizing head-pat wielded against women who are just minding their own goddamn business, who cannot believe they drive a minivan, that their offspring, depending on their height, just wiped their noses on their pants or shirt again, who are wiping the juice from too many orange slices onto the dewy grass while balancing on a janky camp chair sipping either too cold or scalding hot coffee and hoping to be left the fuck alone so they can read a book on their phone until the match mercifully ends.
There’s an argument to be made in the case of hate groups like Moms for Liberty that these sorts of anti-motherhood nicknames are a way of tossing their professed wholesomeness back at them to reveal its cruel underbelly.
We could also stretch our creative wings a bit to craft nicknames for women who hide behind motherhood, Jesus, and liberty while seeking to impose their hateful values onto others rather than doing actual good in their communities . . . without bringing misogyny into it.
6. Performance Inactivewear
Friend of NTMP Rebecca sent me an ad on Instagram for Jambys—a brand I’d heard of before, probably at some point during the Lockdown Times.
Jambys sells “Premium unisex house clothes designed to make you feel great at home,” aka Performance Inactivewear. Man, do I ever love this product name, especially because I work from home and spend most of my existence as a chronic pain goblin.
The company also seems to prioritize soft fabrics (something I’ve grown obsessed with in recent years, for chronic pain goblin reasons, I suppose) and they’re moderately size inclusive (up to 3X).
They even have a Cozy Cloak my neurospicy kids (who do not read this newsletter) would dig, and a House Hoodie, or a hoodie you wear around the house, UNLIKE other hoodies. I’m gonna give them points for trying there.
I’m going to take a moment to highlight the power of words, cleverly arranged—which is, after all, one of the points of this newsletter. Pajamalike clothes? Who cares? Performance Inactivewear? That’s funny—let me not only check them out but write about them for my fellow word-loving pals. Perhaps a Cozy Cloak is in our future!
I can’t recall where I first saw this phrase but the memes about the Barbie movie opening on the same day as the Oppenheimer movie have been out there in the meme-making ether for a few weeks now.
In fact, many people are planning on seeing both movies as a double feature, with debate about the best order in which to see them. Look, one time I went to a high-end spa with girlfriends and we all got massages and sat around an indoor kid-free pool sipping cocktails, and then my family went camping in a popup camper in Rockford, Illinois—the Afterthought of the Midwest. The order in which we do things matters!
My intro to Barbenheimer was this meme (source unknown):
I’ve seen a few funny variations on it since, including fake movie trailers.
I’d have called this Barbieheimer, but what do I know? I’m just another person on the internet with an opinion.
That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and supporting the word love!