There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple or pine in pineapple. And while no one knows what is in a hotdog, you can be pretty sure it isn’t canine.
English muffins were not invented in England nor French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, two meese? Is cheese the plural of choose? One mouse, 2 mice. One louse, 2 lice. One house, 2 hice?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Why do people recite at a play, and play at a recital? Ship by truck or car and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
How can the weather be hot as heck one day and cold as heck another? When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on. You get in and out of a car, yet you get on and off a bus. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?
Because ‘buffalo’ can mean the large bovine, the city in New York state, or a verb meaning ‘to bully’. It was first created by linguist William J. Rapaport - from the University of, naturally, Buffalo.
I detest American mainstream arts and entertainment. I think its the culmination of the modern day deadening of brain and intellect. Everything they do is aimed at pleasing the audience, and I guess that’s cool as long as we talk about entertainment.
But again, there are a few who turn to entertainment not for the shallow sole purpose of being amused but also to be impressed, to be moved, and to be provoked and inspired.
Most times American entertainment makes you sit through it, gaping in wonder and awe and then when you leave that place, you don’t feel the need to be affected by it anymore.
Approaching it from the direction of arts and entertainment serving as escapist tools, yes, that is how it should be.
But then again, arts and entertainment is not merely an escapist tool. When you escape, you still want to feel like you belong there. You still want to be a part of it. American stories make situations where things are just a bit too high for you to reach, you can just gape and wish you were there doing what the people in their stories are doing. That is not only depressing but it is degrading.
Building gods for the mass is never safe. Something that people should not take lightly. It is good for the business. It is an easy way out in terms of marketing boost, but then look at what irresponsible portrayal of pop icons and movie characters have led to.
I am not an idealist and I don’t like the idea of speaking the ‘positive’ message all the time. I do not like to pressure the arts and entertainment because I believe freedom to express is something that is fundamental for its survival. And there is nothing anyone can do if people still decide to make crap models and heros for the pleasure of the mass.
My point is, just because we have the power to do it, we don’t have to.