Friday, October 2, 2009

More Hwimzee

Another image post, and word of the day. 

NB: Now actually a rant and image post because the word of the day did not go as smoothly as one would have hoped. 


[hwim-zee, wim-] 
–noun, plural -sies.
1.capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression: a play with lots of whimsy. odd or fanciful notion.
3.anything odd or fanciful; a product of playful or capricious fancy: a whimsy from an otherwise thoughtful writer.

Let's talk about this definition for one second. 

Putting aside for the moment that the 'h' is in fact silent and so if you go around pronouncing it 'hwimzee' you are going to sound Victor Krum inarticulately lusting after Hermione, I have some serious problems with this definition.

Firstly, and indeed lastly, it is flat out wrong. That is not what whimsy means. Odd or fanciful? Excessively playful? Extravagant? I suspect capricious is meant badly as well, as the dictionary says it means 'erratic'. Why this attack on whimsy at a time when we need more whimsy?

This place in history is whimsy starved. In the evening, just after the sun sets, strange thoughts come into our heads, and, afraid, we think of other things like schedules and lists. Sometimes in the witching hour we awake - not often, perhaps just a handful of times in a lifetime - and think of a different world and believe, in that dark hour before dawn, that we could make it so. This is whimsy. 

I also have to take issue with whimsy being diametrically opposed to thoughtfulness in the not-very-helpful example sentence. Maybe to dictionary writers who wear bow ties and whose skin is the same grey colour as their hair, whimsy cannot co-exist with thoughtfulness, but for the rest of us, it can and it should. 

This, my friends, is whimsy - Nightingale.

So fuck off, dictionary, Keats and I think you are a loser.