Anoth. Dict. of Rec. Ideas (Abbrev.)
Paul Winner


ALCOHOLIC:  1) An early role, usually assumed for various social missteps or one’s first stirrings of misanthropy; 2) a source of premature wisdom.


AMBITION:  Often “naked” or “noble.” Preferable in people of new acquaintance to features such as sincerity or kindness.


ANTI-DEPRESSANT:  1) Fluctuating pretext for continued social missteps that might otherwise prove embarrassing (see ALCOHOLIC); 2) holding pattern of distaste for one’s career, spouse, etc.



BAND:  Weekend activity for married males, founded on common tastes and/or advanced degrees. (see TASTE)


BECKETT:  Excellent name for a housepet.


BIAS:  A sin of ignorance. Everyone else operates from it.


BOOKSHELF:  Carefully or casually organized, yet always incompletely known.


BROMIDE:  Sound advice one seeks to avoid.



CELEBRITY:  Understood through intermedia to be one’s imaginary friend; one usually envisions coming upon this friend and sharing opinions on work, home, culture, minorities, etc.


CLICHÉ: That which forms the readily recognizable elements of art, visual or narrative. When in doubt of its existence, identify regardless.


CREDIT:  Unreliable gauge of self-worth. One should claim to be victimized by predatory lending.



DANTE:  Excellent name for a housepet.


DERRIDA:  1) Filter of phrases through which modern identity is discussed in the French pluperfect; 2) a rather short man from the provinces.


DIPLOMACY:  A quaint form of sincerity on the geopolitical scale. (see AMBITION)



ECLECTIC:  Fresh and new, predictably so.


EUROPE:  1) Western edge of Asian landmass, site of numerous lessons in self-actualization in the form of wise/shrewd/forgotten grand-relatives; 2) a kind of older sibling to the United States, bitter for having been passed over in world lottery of domination.


EXERCISE:  More noteworthy, though less effective, taken up late in life.



FANFARE:  With what most everything enters into discussion. Very much needed to get public’s attention.


FLAUBERT:  Responsible for the tired genre of nouvelle realism as clutched, somewhat poignantly, by the preceding generation of MFA graduates. Claim to find cruel unless read in the original.



GARDEN STATE:  1) Repository of jokes concerning cultural and/or geographical misfortune; 2) “The Graduate” for a whole new generation—seriously, it was like, my life.


GOATEE:  Sharp-looking in certain areas of … 1992.



HELL:  Other people.


HEMINGWAY:  A heady combination of the virile and sentimental. 


HIP:  Asshole envy.


HISTORY:  A huge undiscovered country, deceiving and swamp-like, littered with poor signposts. Its primary lesson may be confidently reduced to this: Beware of short men from the provinces. (see BROMIDE)



ICONOCLAST:  Look in the mirror, rebel.


IRONY:  Always appreciated, never called for. Like the cigarette one swears off, yet pulls heavily on in a moment of timidity. Try to locate use in objects chosen at random, then discuss as if lingua franca.



KHAKI:  Sharp-looking in certain areas of … Blockbuster Video.


KINDNESS:  Evidence of a weak constitution, poor education, and provincial thinking. (See AMBITION)


KITSCH:  A free pass given to bad taste.



LIFE:  1) A biological allotment of roughly no more than 700,000 hours; 2) raw material of one’s Master Plan, or time spent as figments of imaginative reverie; 3) an addictive sugar-wheat cereal.


LINGUA FRANCA:  Latin for “groupthink.”


LITERATURE:  One leaf on the branch of cultural studies. 



MACHIAVELLI:  Used in its adjective form to describe political operations your side wishes it had thought of.


MEDICINE:  In crisis. Unregulated. Denied the impoverished. Cheaper in Canada. Necessary for birth control.



NATURE:  A Romantic state known for purity of heart and clarity of sight. If not for the bugs, somewhat preferable to exurban sprawl.


NIGHTMARE:  Try coupling with “Orwellian” or “public relations.”


NOSTALGIA:  Too close to sentimentality to be trusted, except when dissecting and celebrating parts of the collective unconscious. (see TELEVISION)


NOVEL:  1) Like opera or penmanship, an art form of the sort one hears is always dying; 2) a vessel for reaching the lowest rungs of gossip, usually for no longer than one season.



PAINKILLERS:  Branch of homeopathy.


PETIT-BOURGEOIS:  Whoever does not understand one’s humbly proffered and clearly reasoned commentary.


POSTMODERN:  Synonym for bloodless.


PUNK:  1) A form of custom tailoring to hide the cost and/or brand name of one’s comfortable accoutrements; 2) a stay against graceful aging.



SOCIAL GRACES:  Controlled anger.


SONTAG:  Best consulted the way one would a broken clock. 


SPORT:  Physical link between bourgeois and proletariat. Usually one’s interest in following matches is directly proportional to one’s inability to play them as a child.  Try to form opinions of any kind on the subject. (see LINGUA FRANCA)


SWEATPANTS:  What one wears anticipating, or often in place of, bodily improvement.



TASTE:  What one yearns to accumulate in place of hard currency.


TELEVISION:  1) Important element of what is derisively called popular culture. One should never apologize for seeming to have watched every new network or basic-cable program and pronounced it either lacking or transfixing and therefore evocative of zeitgeist (see ZEITGEIST); 2) its positive appeal is one more reason why you’ll never find a better job. (see ANTI-DEPRESSANT)


TERRORIST:  Anarchist of modern technology and medieval cosmology. Celebrated as folk hero in dictatorial states and by various icon graphics on MySpace and high school kids in Dayton looking for a band name.



WATER:  Petroleum of the twenty-first century. Lower atmosphere of the twenty-second.


WEALTH:  Always relative. Claim to be unmoved by it.


WIRELESS:  1) A misnomer; 2) a state of being trapped in wired connections, as seraphim and the like are bodies caught between terra firma and terra celestia; 3) a reason to patronize Starbucks.



YOUTH:  Shapeless existence, before one knew better. 



ZEITGEIST:  Defined through purchase habits. Like Arafat, never stays a night in the same place.