In the shell-shocked aftermath of World War I, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were among the lost generation that led the literary world into the raucous and roaring Jazz Age. They both died young — he of a heart attack and she in an asylum — after lives laced with alcohol and desperate abandon:
“While he rode the zeitgeist to literary bestsellerdom, Fitzgerald did little to endear himself to the public. His comments about women are especially grating to the modern ear. ‘I know that after a few moments of inane conversation with most girls I get so bored that unless I have a few drinks I have to leave the room,’ he said. ‘All women over thirty-five should be murdered.’ (He was, one hopes, kidding.) He once told a reporter that the average Midwestern girl ‘is unattractive, selfish, snobbish, egotistical, utterly graceless, talks with an ugly accent and in her heart knows that she would feel more at home in a kitchen than in a ballroom.’ Still, he wasn’t entirely dismissive of the fairer sex. ‘The southern girl is easily the most attractive type in America,’ he said.
“His wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900-1948), was a southern girl, born and raised in Alabama. Scott proposed to her with his mother’s ring in 1919. Zelda, however, wasn’t yet sure if Scott was marriage material. She locked the ring away and cut off sexual relations with Scott until he showed signs of material success.
“At one point, Zelda even returned the ring to her fiancé and called things off. Fitzgerald went on a three-week bender. He wrote to his friend Edmund Wilson, ‘Since I last saw you, I’ve tried to get married and then tried to drink myself to death.’ Fitzgerald’s prospects changed for the better after he sold his first novel for publication; Zelda readily agreed to get married as soon as possible. …
“Early on in his career, Fitzgerald said, ‘We were married and we’ve lived — happily —ever afterwards. That is, we expect to.’
“But then came the parties, and then came Zelda’s madness. Ah, the parties … Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald perfected the art of professional party crashing. They were prone to show up at the door uninvited, on all fours and barking like dogs. If they tricked the host into letting them into the house, they might strip naked and take a bath in the master bathroom tub. Zelda frequently shed her clothing in public, and stories abound of her panties or bra coming off at parties. Dorothy Parker found them ‘too ostentatious for words. Their behavior was calculated to shock.’ “
Author: Andrew Shaffer
Good practical sense. The natural intelligence that is believed to be available to all rational people.
Thomas Paine published a pamphlet entitled Common Sense in January 1776. It called for America to become independent of Britain and a copy of the original is considered a treasure of the US Library of Congress, being one of the wellsprings of the thinking that founded the country. Common sense, that is, a plain practical ‘get on with the job’ philosophy is part of the American psyche.
Paine is sometimes thought to be American but in fact emigrated to the USA after living the majority of his life in the archetypally English country town of Thetford, Norfolk. Despite his radical views he considered himself English and the pamphlet’s author was simply identified as “An Englishman”. Nor, as is also sometimes believed, did he invent the term ‘common sense’, which had been in use in his native land long before Paine’s day.
In the original 14th century meaning of the term, ‘common sense’ was a sense like our other senses. It was an internal feeling that was regarded as the common bond that united all the other human senses, the ‘five wits’ as they were known, and was something akin to what we now call ‘heart’.
By the 16th century, the meaning had changed to be more like our present day meaning, that is, ‘the plain wisdom that everyone possesses’. George Joye used the expression in Apology for William Tindale, 1535:
I am suer T[indale] is not so farre besydis his comon sencis as to saye the dead bodye hereth Cristis voyce.
[Note: ‘apology’ then meant ‘defence against attack’/’justification of one’s views’, and was commonly used in the titles of scholarly disputes.]
The one thing that is usually said about common sense is that it isn’t as common as it ought to be. This little gag was made as early as 1726, by the political writer Nicholas Amhurst in the satirical text The Secret History of the University of Oxford:
There is not (said a shrewd wag) a more uncommon thing in the world than common sense.
By the time that Paine began writing in the 1770s, the term ‘common sense’ had migrated a little more and was widely used to mean ‘primary truth’, that is, the unquestionable beliefs that all people receive from their experience of being alive. Richard Price defined the term in Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, 1758:
Common sense, the faculty of self-evident truths.
Paine’s work influenced many political and moral thinkers at the beginning of the American Revolution and he was personally acquainted with most of them; in England, these included the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the artist William Blake and in America, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
When the authors of the US Declaration of Independence began with the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”, their meaning was ‘we believe this declaration to be common sense’.2 weeks ago
Pig Latin. Ig-pay atin-lay. It is not really a different language, but an encoded version of English based on a very simple transformation rule. Move the first sound to the end of the word and add “ay.” Linguists call this kind of thing a language game, and lots of languages have them. Language games may be used as a secret code, a way to avoid saying taboo words, or just for fun. The transformation rules in language games can vary. For example, in Pig Latin words that start with vowels may take a –way, –hey, or –yay ending. Rules of language games in other languages may also vary, but here are some general guidelines for fun in 11 different languages.
Rövarspråket means “robber language” in Swedish, and it was made popular in a series of boy detective books by Astrid Lindgren. You double every consonant and put an o between them, so Ikea, for example, would be Ikokea, while the new Swedish coinage ogooglebar (ungoogleable), would be ogogoogoglolebobaror. These words can get pretty long, so it’s a good thing someone made Rövarspråket generator.
In German Löffelsprache, or “spoon language,” a “lew,” “lef” or “lev” is inserted between duplicated vowels. Guten Morgen! becomes out Gulewutelewen Moleworgelewen! Got it? Now try it on one of those famously long German compound words—say, Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen (industrial engineering). On second thought, you might have to actually be an industrial engineer to do that…
A language game played in Spanish-speaking countries, Jerigonza, meaning “gibberish,” involves doubling vowels and inserting p’s between them. Hola becomes hopolapa. Gracias becomes grapacipiapas. Do you like jerigonza? Te gusta la jerigonza? Or rather, tepe gupustapa lapa jeperipigoponzapa?
There is a similar game in Portuguese called Língua do pê or p-language. The rules can vary a little, as they do in Pig Latin or any other language game. In Brazil, Brasil could come out as Braprasilpil or Brapasilpil. In Portugal you might get Popor putu pagal or Porpor putu palgal.
In Italy, they use an f instead of a p, resulting in words like ciafaofo for ciao. Alfabeto farfallino means butterfly alphabet. Not only do all those f’s make every word sound like farfallina—the word for little butterfly—but when spoken, it brings to mind the gentle puffs of air from butterfly wings. Just listen: afalbefetofo fafarfafallifinofo. Can you hear the butterflies?
Sananmuunnos means “word transformation” or “spoonerism.” To play this language game sections of words are swapped with each other and vowels may be changed as well. If you apply sananmuunnos to sananmuunnos it becomes munansaannos, which can be understood as “a yield of penis.”
In French, Verlan is a method for making slang terms by swapping syllables or reversing them. The word Verlan is itself a Verlan word from l’envers (backwards), pronounced approximately lan-ver. Swap the syllables and you get ver-lan. Some Verlan words become so much a part of French slang that they get re-verlanized. Meuf (girlfriend, chick), a Verlan version of femme (woman), became so widespread that it got passed through the filter again to produce feume. This re-verlanization is sometimes called Verlan au carré or Verlan squared.
The Vietnamese language game Nói lái involves the swapping of words, or parts of words, and tones. Usually the result is a real phrase that means something different. If you want to talk about chửa hoang (pregnancy out of wedlock), but don’t want to say it outright, you might use hoảng chưa (scared yet?) instead.
In Babigo, the b syllables—ba, bi, bo, bu, be—are inserted after the syllables of Japanese words. You can greet your friends with kobonibichibiwaba (konnichiwa, hello) when you meet them for subushibi (sushi) to talk about beibesububoborubu (beisuboru, baseball).
In the Hungarian Madárnyelv (bird language) game, the v syllables—va, vi, vo, vö, vé, ve, vu, vü—are inserted into each syllable after the vowel, turning madárnyelv into mavadávárnyevelv and Budapest into Buvudavapevest.
In Hebrew Bet-language, or b-language, vowels are duplicated and b’s inserted between them. In 1978, this language game helped Israel get its first win in the Eurovision song contest with Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta’s “Abanibi.” The song talks about how the boys were mean to girls when they were little kids. The truth was that they loved them, but they could only say it in code: Abanibi obohebev obotabach, which is ani ohev otach (I love you) in Bet-language. All those extra syllables make a catchy chorus.