Soliloquies and obloquies

Great Golconda! The longest Words of the Week yet looks at two obloquies, one against a tech CEO and the other from one of the world’s most famous CEOs, the therapeutic qualities of performing soliloquies, the two most powerful intransitive verbs in my life, and how the four types of Biblical love are being tested during the ecdemic.

Week to week there are few many changes to the selection of words in the list. The top half of the twenty-five most popular words on Merriam-Webster’s Online Unabridged Dictionary usually consists of the same words, albeit reshuffled in order of popularity. The bottom half of the list is generally full of new words that do not survive the next week. It is a shame, because there are often some neat, good words from which to glean.

New words to put a spotlight on for this week include righteous (11), obloquy (18), cussed (19), Golconda (22), and ligneous (25). Of course, disinfectant (3) is new to the list as well, and if you watch basic news for even a few seconds, you will know and understand why this word makes an appearance this week.

Some mainstay words which inspired great soliloquizing for this week include righteous, racist (13), draconian (14), culture (16), love (17), obloquy (18), cussed (19), and transitive (21).

Since there is a lot to cover within the top twenty-five words of the week, I will keep the introduction short and let the body of the blog do the talking.

Please enjoy this week’s Words of the Week powered by Merriam-Webster’s Online Unabridged Dictionary.

1. Pandemic

Now known as the ecdemic in this blog, the pandemic that was spurred on by the coronavirus may be turning the corner to the end. Then, however, there is news that LA is completely closing all beaches, and Apple and Google team up to create contact-tracing apps. It all still seems a bit heavy-handed to me, as I explain throughout this week’s entry of Words of the Week.

2. Noun

What on hath we wrought? Noun is number two on the list this week! How can this be?

The noun of the week is Golconda, the number twenty-two word for this list.

3. Disinfectant

Saw this one coming a mile away. Trump recklessly/insincerely suggested that Lysol and other disinfectants could be injected into damaged areas of the body to kill the coronavirus. He clearly meant harm to the American people and he is a stupid, vile man; he clearly spoke off the cuff and clumsily pondered the idea in front of the nation.

There is chatter that disinfectants of some sort are able to kill the virus on surfaces for an extended period of time.

4. Quarantine

When this quarantine ends, I imagine queues and waiting lists for each and every barber shop and hair salon across the globe. Think of all the hair that can be donated.

5. Fascism

In the news, an AfD spokesman was dropped by the German political party this past week. Christian Leuth apparently proclaimed himself as a fascist leader. The spokesman reportedly was proudly open about his “Aryan” lineage.

Ashleigh and I stumbled into an AfD rally two years ago when we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to weekend in Görlitz, Germany. The city

It is a wonderful city that is split by the Lusatian Neisse, which on the other side of the bank is Zgorzelec, Poland. It has a quaint market square, historic and imposing towers, and the best potato house outside of Idaho.

6. Furlough

With the absence of migrant workers in Britain, many furloughed Brits are now encouraged to pick up their baskets and fulfil the labour shortage of fruit pickers.

As a side note, I have never felt completely satisfied when spelling “fulfil” sans the additional “l” prescribed by American linguists.

7. Adjective

Abject horror, this. Seeing adjective still in the top ten of the list really splits my shins.

Hey, but I will focus on the bright side of things. Here are all the adjectives in this week’s list: happy, righteous, draconian, cussed, and ligneous.

8. Coronavirus

The coronavirus carries on. Malta today (3 May) announced that masks are to be worn when entering grocery stores. I am surprised that it took this long into the ecdemic to make this mandatory.

9. Corona

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and, I am waxed bold to predict that many in America will be diving into tacos and Tecates… but more likely Coronas.

Cinco de Mayo is the annual celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory of the French Empire in 1862. But, in reality, the holiday is more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, as it is a celebration of Mexican-American culture.

Growing up in a family who adores Mexican food nearly as much as our ancestral Dutch food, nearly every Sunday was Cinco de Mayo for us.

10. Happy

John Krasinki’s “Some Good News” is the kind of happy talk the world needs now. It is also the kind of program needed in all scenarios.

11. Righteous

Juice WRLD’s song Righteous, a posthumous single, brought this word to everyone’s mind (and subsequently in their search bars).

Spiritually, I have learned a lot since moving to Malta. We moved to the island with the intentions of establishing our roots and with building our careers. Along the way, I had become sidetracked on things I could not control. More specifically, I was fretting about the things that we do not have: a car, a house, a prestigious job title or career. I never had worried about those things before while living in Poland. So, why now?

I became aware that I was hungry and thirsty for earthly things, and not spiritual things. In Poland, Ashleigh and I were active members of our local church – leading and partaking in Bible studies – and I was heavily involved in a homeless ministry. I developed great friendships with other believers. I was fulfilled.

Somewhere along the way in Malta, I lost that fulfillment. I became too focused on how my job and how attaining that particular car or that specific house would fulfill me. I had not been seeking what the Lord wants of me. I was not feeling fulfilled because I was not seeking after God’s will; I forgot that God can, will, and has fulfilled me.

It is the righteousness of God that I should be seeking. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:4).

This is the mindset I am to have for this coming year.

12. Asymptomatic

Throughout my first year of living in Malta, I was asymptomatic of seasonal allergies. Then, on the exact day marking the one-year anniversary of Ashleigh and I’s arrival to the island, I was lambasted with sneezes, sniffles, and scratchy eyes. This must mean that I have fully acclimatized to the environs of my new home?

13. Racism

Racist actions are unforgivable, but should not former racists be forgiven?

The founder and CEO of a social media surveillance company that aims to deliver “critical and life-saving information” for first responders, Banjo, recently had events from his teenage years exposed in several articles. Damien Patton was involved in an anti-Semitic, racist, KKK-affiliated hate group when he was aged 15-17. According to court documents cited by the articles, Patton was the driver in a drive-by shooting of a synagogue in the early 1990s. No one was injured in this shooting. Two others involved in the shooting were indicted. Patton pleaded for juvenile delinquency.

This skeleton from Patton’s closet was brought to public attention in the past week, and now the Utah Attorney General’s public officials and agencies are obloquizing Patton and recanting their multi-million dollar contracts with Banjo. As of 30 April, Banjo ceased all operations in Utah, its home base, pending the completion of a racial/religious audit.

Both the Verge and Deseret News articles show that Patton was clearly involved with some nasty groups and he espoused their horrible beliefs.

Patton released a statement after the expose went public. He does not deny his past at all. In fact, he seems completely open and honest about what he used to think and do. His statement later details how his career in the US Navy turned his life around. “I have worked every day to be a responsible member of society,” Patton said. “I’ve built companies, employed hundreds and have worked to treat everyone around me equally. In recent years, I’ve sought to create technologies that stop human suffering and save lives without violating privacy. I know that I will never be able to erase my past, but I work hard every day to make up for mistakes. This is something I will never stop doing.”

It is easier to reconcile with people who used to think and say racist things than it is with people who actively took part in a racially motivated attack. In practice, this could have ended up as murder. If the intent to murder can be proven, yes, then, repercussions are at hand.

Thankfully, no one was injured or killed in that incident. That is a super lucky thing for Patton, who at the age of seventeen expressed his hatred for Jews and blacks clearly in court statements. His testimony of his life being turned for the better during his Navy career and seeking counselling to deal with this issue have made him a different man.

I know Patton is forgiven by God (especially if Patton has sought after forgiveness from God), but will society forgive Patton? Should companies and agencies distance themselves from Banjo?

Patton went through the legal system and received the justice deemed fair for him. He seems to have demonstrated a life change after his Navy career. His egregious actions as a “troubled” youngster certainly are a starker blotch on one’s past than someone who merely wrote racist things on Twitter, for example. Yet, just by looking at this story for the past week, I feel that he has done quite a bit to distance himself from his past and to move on towards being a better person.

14. Draconian

I have long adored Elon Musk, even if he is “mercurial”, as NPR described him. My friends and I in college were obsessed with his SpaceX program, seeing it as the realization of our dreams of colonizing other planets (this dream was fueled by the Mass Effect series). Now, the Tesla boss called for lockdowns to end and for Americans to be let free to return to work and life, saying it is “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights – that’s my opinion.” Strong opinion from the South African.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis touts that his state’s success against the coronavirus came “despite not issuing ‘draconian’ orders.” He said that the Sunshine State has thousands of empty hospital beds.

I am not in a position of leadership at the moment, so it is easy for me to have hindsight on how we should have approached this entire ecdemic. I respect my bosses and most government officials locally and abroad. However, I did always feel that the reaction to the virus was very heavy-handed in many cases. I recall the swine flu in 2009. There was sincere concern about this virus – so much so that I remember myself and the entire Idaho State University athletic department having to receive some sort of shot or vaccine for it – but that reaction was minimal compared to how we have responded to the coronavirus.

We were very quick to play it super safe and lock ourselves away at the initial onslaught of the virus. “Draconian” measures slowly crept in to daily life for many of us in different parts of the world. Now, it looks like some are second-guessing this approach, as more and more people advocate for herd immunity and lightening restrictions. Sweden has been relaxed with its approach, keeping schools and restaurants open. Sweden’s deputy prime minister said this is a “marathon” approach to combatting the virus, and not a “sprint” approach that many countries are taking.

As mentioned last week, it seems that our respective areas will reach a peak in cases, whether that is after the marathon or after a few sprints.

15. Verb

I look at two very important intransitive verbs below in my breakdown of transitive, the number twenty-one word of the week.

16. Culture

A few weeks ago I learned about “cultural omnivorousness” whilst editing an article on that exact topic. Being a cultural omnivore means that you partake in both highbrow and lowbrow culture products. Someone who visits an art gallery in the morning and later attends a Katy Perry concert is a cultural omnivore.

Dr Tomasz Witkowski, a client of mine, digested a recent South Korean study that concluded we consume highbrow culture products to distinguish ourselves and nibble on lowbrow culture products to make ourselves feel more integrated with broader society. The study was controlled via a survey rather than observing actual people attending events, a weak point of the study according to Witkowski.

With this understanding of cultural omnivorousness, it is quite clear to me that my college roommates and I were like the viscous lions, tigers, and bears of the cultural omnivore kingdom. Only my good friend and world record holder for broadest shoulders Erik could blend a joke using classical literature references with Cartoon Network characters.

17. Love

Looking at synonyms of love in the dictionary this week, I was reminded of the word agape, “the love of God for humankind”, “Christian brotherly love in its manifestation”, and “spontaneous self-giving love expressed freely without calculation of cost or gain to the giver or merit on the part of the receiver.”

This is one of four Christian loves (deriving from ancient Greek): eros (romantic love), storge (family love), philia (brotherly love), and agape (sacrificial love).

Agape love was taught frequently in my private Christian middle and high school. The name of the school café was Agape Café, in fact. Agape is the highest form of love taught in the Bible – the love for humankind. It is unconditional, sacrificial, and pure. This is the love that Jesus displayed on the cross to redeem us of our sins.

I think we are seeing many examples of philia love, brotherly love, by communities and businesses as they donate time, money, and resources to support medical workers or to buttress struggling communities and businesses.

Storge love may be challenged a bit as we are bastilled with our families. Rather so, familial bonds may be tighter than ever thank to lockdowns. We have had the time to stay put, slow down, and appreciate the company of our families.

How is agape love fairing during the ecdemic? An April 27 article from the Hartford Courant titled “Can agape cure coronavirus” ponders this question. At least I assume it ponders that question, GDPR rules prevents me from opening the article. Agape cannot physically cure people of the virus, but it can cure financial and professional uncertainty. You can read about CEOs forgoing their salaries and staying committed to keeping everyone employed. That, I think, is a small sample of agape love.

Oh, and of eros love? Let us anticipate a baby boom when this is all over.

18. Obloquy

An obloquy is “a strongly and often intemperately condemnatory utterance; defamatory or calumnious language.” It also means “the condition of one that is subjected to or deserving of obloquy.”

A quick scan of obloquy in the news produces pieces of obloquy directed towards WHO, China, and other politicians for various reasons. Making obloquies is a sharpened skill for many people; we are quite good at it.

Seeing obloquy this week made me think of the word soliloquy straightaway, and I think that this is a skill lacking in our society. (I am include myself in that brief obloquy.)

I use to soliloquize constantly when mowing lawns growing up. Living in places with large yards to trim was a blessing. The one- to sometimes two-hour job was a great time to speak at length about whatever was on my mind (which was usually some fictional scenario from my stories or video game ideas I wanted to play out). The loud, droning, and drowning noise of the lawnmower encouraged me to soliloquize. The louder the machine, the more dramatic my monologue.

Lawn mowing was my creative writing workshop back then. I ironed out many finer details of my short stories and other ideas that never saw the light of day. It was also quite therapeutic. Without a doubt I would have appeared to be a bit crazy or eccentric to those who witnessed me talking to myself while enthroned on our beloved blue Dixon ZTR (zero turn radius) driving lawnmower. Nevertheless, being able to soliloquize like that was fun and beneficial for me – a very useful platform for creativity.

Not to mention, just having a chore to do in the outdoors was refreshing in itself.

19. Cussed

The third form of the verb “to cuss” made it to the list this week, thanks perhaps to reporting earlier this month about how Miami Heat team president Pat Riley apparently broke his hip while cussing his team out in 2007.

However, this story caught my attention: A city planning commissioner resigned from his position after he was shown cussing, drinking a beer, and throwing his cat during a Zoom meeting.

The Internet and social media have made fools of us all. The ability to etch that stupid idea from your mind onto the stone of Twitter has ruined many, many people. We would not dare say that offensive thing in public, but we certainly would, and do, from the comfort of our homes and behind the veil of a digital string of words. Now with Zoom meetings a requirement for teams and businesses on lockdown, we see how our colleagues can behave when in the comfort of their homes. We would not dare to drink a beer or throw our pets during meetings at the office, but we certainly would, apparently, from the comfort of our homes. The catch here, though, is that Zoom broadcasts this behavior for all to see.

To be fair, it is nice to attend work meetings in my workout gear.

20. Proficient

Articles and self-help blogs having the keys to work from home proficiently are frequently posted on the Web.

Here is my recipe for work, health, and hobby proficiency:

  • Wake up at the same time every day to do side-hustle work or study German or study the Bible or write.
  • Workout during my lunch break.
  • Write after work – even if no quality words spring forth, treat writing like work.
  • Eat a clean dinner.
  • Study the Bible with Ash.
  • Read until I fall asleep (on average I last about two pages).
  • On the weekends: keep writing, but stay as far away from work-related thoughts as possible, and go for a super-long walk.

21. Transitive

Transitive (verbs) debuted (that is a funny word to write in the past tense) last week. This week, I want to look at its counterpart: intransitive.

An intransitive verb is a verb that does not require a direct object on which to act.

When I went to think about common uses of intransitive verbs, two very different examples came to mind.

The first comes from a verse in the Bible that can easily be overlooked, but it has so much depth in it. In fact, there is so much depth in the following verse that it requires its own blog post. The verse comes from John 19:28, and it is of John’s depiction of Jesus dying on the cross for mankind:

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”

Two things to draw from the intransitive verb “thirst” here. First, Jesus was fulfilling scripture, as John stated there himself. Second, the declaration of Jesus saying “I thirst” shows us his humanity – that he truly was God in the flesh of man.

The second example of a common intransitive verb comes from a completely different and totally trivial medium. It is also the most frightening sound clip to ever grace my ears as a young video gamer growing up.

“I hunger.”

Gamers may know this reference right off the bat. The arcade classic Sinistar was always an intriguing, eerie, and simply fun play for me. The mystery of the game’s antagonist had inspired me to attempt a screenplay adaptation.

Players hear this the grave, sinister voice from the depths of space when the titular villain emerges from its slumber:

I submit that this is one of the best entrances of any villain in a video game ever.

22. Golconda

Golconda is a noun meaning “a source of great wealth”, especially “a rich mine.” The example used in Merriam-Webster is “…this means a Golconda for makers and sellers of accessories.”

What is the origin of this word? Golconda Fort is an old fortified citadel in Hyderabad, India known for its wealth of diamond mines in the area. These mines produced Golconda diamonds, or the blue hope diamond in the US, a source of great wealth for the Qutb Shahis.

By the 1880s, the word Golconda was being used generically to refer to any rich mine or source of great wealth.

News about happenings in Golconda today may have brought attention to this word, but it is strange to think about how people would have thought to look it up in the dictionary.

23. Socialism

The ecdemic in America has burgeoned support for socialism – democratic socialism, to be exact. Many sites claim that a socialist America would have been prepared for the virus. No one would have had to be antsy to return to work, because everyone, I guess, would be getting a healthy paycheck every month on which to rely.

24. Preposition

A new function word that joins noun, verb, transitive, and adjective on the Words of the Week for this week. Prepositions are the trickiest things to learn in any language; they are a continual nuisance in my German and Polish learning. English prepositions are no better or worse, and Jerry Seinfeld captures this issue best:

Like, people say, ‘I live in the city,’ but they say, ‘I live on Long Island.’ And they get on a train but not in a train. But you get in a cab. I’m doing a whole thing about getting out of a cab and all these different prepositions that we use for transportation. You get on the plane, you take an Uber…, 2 August, 2017

25. Ligneous

Ligneous! Here is a good word. A good, woody sort of word. A word that would make the late Graham Chapman proud. Ligneous! ˈlignēəs. Very good and woody.

Sadly, there is no existing video clip of my favourite Monty Python sketch to link here, so you will have to read the script yourself to catch the reference.

2 thoughts on “Soliloquies and obloquies

  1. Pingback: Undesigning Words of the Week – Part 1 –

  2. Pingback: Hi, my noun is John –

Leave a Reply