1/17/09

Synonyms and Antonyms Are for Wussies

Anti-goodbye, everyone. Very reundispleased to see you. Today, we get to hear from Andrew Adler of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, [John] Adams was composing in a style that is typically referred to as “minimalism.”

Some have said that scare quotes are for real men only. Sadly, that leaves me out. However, if that’s indeed the case, then Andrew is a real man’s man. He doesn’t even bother to use real words. Why would you when you can just hyphenate whole phrases, instead?

Indeed, [conductor Jorge] Mester used the same language Friday in brief, from-the-stage remarks about “Grand Pianola Music,”

This one doesn’t smell of fermented fish paste, but still. “From-the-stage,” as far as I can tell, is only used in its non-hyphenated form, as a prepositional phrase. Here, “onstage” could have sufficed—a clear, efficient synonym.

...though in such a general sense that those remarks were almost anti-useful.

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WoT

Written by Robert Jordan (real name: James Rigney, Jr.), The Wheel of Time (WoT) is an epic fantasy spanning eleven volumes. It’s been turned into a video game, a role playing game, and the rights have been sold for television and film. Here’s what you need to know about it, via Wiki:

At the dawn of time, a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which spins the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the One Power, which flows from the True Source. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel. Those humans who can use this power are known as channelers; the principal organization of such channelers in the books is called the Aes Sedai or 'Servants of All' in the Old Tongue.

Additionally, there are eight (seven?) sub-organizations of the Aes Sedai, called the Ajah. They are divided into different colors with specific purposes. For instance, the Brown Ajah is devoted to the study and collection of knowledge; the Yellow are dedicated to “Healing.”

Anyway...

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Anti-useful isn’t a word; the antonym of useful is useless—this, according to every dictionary and pipe on the intertube-nets. Stupid, huh? Well, not so fast. Further research lead me to a WoT forum, where one member responds to another, while making clear the distinction between useless and anti-useful.

Member 1: The Yellows have a vital major Talent which is utilized very inefficiently, and until recently their research was zero. They are not useless, they are inefficient and thus more useless than they should be.

Member 2: They are useful, but open to criticism on the grounds of efficiency. Not useless, but anti-useful. The worst Healing in the world is still useful.

Huh. So according to Andrew, the word minimalism, in order to describe John Adams' Grand Pianola Music, is useful, but not quite efficient.

Andrew’s vast WoT experience to the rescue! Sort of. (Sigh)

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Also, Grand Pianola Music over at the Hall.
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1 comments:

Gustav said...

That's some research to make the parallel...

Editor would have done well just to cut that entire section of article to begin with -- it was certainly anti-useful to the review. I'd say the critique was anti-non-craptacular, yes?