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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Smarter time-wasting

    Smarter time-wasting

    Have you ever been called an “”idiotist”” and wondered whether to be insulted? Well, Arthur Goldwag’s book “”-Isms and -Ologies: All the Movements, Ideologies and Doctrines That Have Shaped Our World”” provides definitions, origins, associated dates and usages of a host of terms, from “”idiotism”” to “”floccinaucinihilipilification,”” that not only enrich one’s vocabulary and knowledge but also comprise entertaining browsing material.

    The book is broken into sections for easy access, so while you can look up specific words in the index, you can also search for words related to the political and historical, religious, lawful, and foreign fields, or even those to do with sexual perversion.

    There is reading matter for every interest, it seems: the book is sure to appeal to Scrabble enthusiasts, military historians and leather-clad deviants alike.

    “”-Isms and -Ologies: All the Movements, Ideologies and Doctrines That Have Shaped Our World””
    Arthur Goldwag – Vintage
    $14.95; Amazon.com
    4 stars!

    Perhaps a taste of some particularly juicy words will spike your intellectual appetite. Take “”idiotist.”” While it may be used by people with especially bad grammar to mean “”idiot,”” according to Goldwag, an “”idiotist”” is a follower of the mystic G. I. Gurdjieff, who classified all people into a hierarchy of 21 types of Idiot, from Normal Idiots at the bottom to the Unique Idiot, the category under which God fell, at the top. Those of us in between might be Swaggering or Polyhedral Idiots.

    Maybe “”mugwumpism”” is more your cup of tea. Defined by Albert J. Engel, the word means “”one of them boys who always has his mug on one side of the political fence and his wump on the other,”” and which led to the term “”neomugwump,”” which is a term for independent-thinking Republicans.

    How about using “”pecksniffian”” as a way to describe your hypercritical do-gooder friends, “”yahoo”” to call out to the unwashed masses on the streets of Tucson and “”rabelaisian”” for those with a childish sense of humor?

    Plus, you can find out what all those complicated words you’ve used in essays actually mean. “”Multilateralism,”” Trotskyism and “”feminism,”” for example. The days of intellectual bluffing are over!

    And while the book is neither pleasure reading nor a necessary reference manual, it is the perfect thing to read when you want to waste a little time and end up smarter. “”-Isms and -Ologies”” makes a great gift for yourself or for that hard-to-buy-for know-it-all this Christmas.

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