In my previous post, I mentioned soundbites, tweets, vines and a few other appalling examples from a growing modern lexicon coined to reflect the increasing brevity and inanity with which we use the miracle of the internet to communicate with each other.
Earlier today, by yet another happy coincidence, I came across this BBC feature by Mary Beard bemoaning the vapid utterances of our politicians, although they’re far from being the only culprits, and harking back to the ancient world and the way it prized rhetoric, or persuasion through argument.
This instantly put me in mind of William Shakespeare and of the way he went a step further by inventing new words for things or ideas, my favourite being the sublime ‘transmogrify’, meaning to magically transform something or someone. The Bard is known to have invented around 1,700 new words and while I can’t hope to compete with this total, I can at least attempt to coin a few new words myself by using Shakespeare’s methods.
My first offering is “shrillinformed”, which is obviously a combination of ‘shrill’ and ‘ill-informed’, so while to my mind it perfectly describes the mesmerisingly vulgar Sarah Palin, it can also be used to describe any number of other public or private commentators of either sex who rush to hold forth and to be heard on subjects about which they know precious little.
I cannot predict the future, so I do not know if this word will be used by others, but it was deeply satisfying to be able to create it, which is enough for me. If anyone else feels inspired to create another word, for whatever purpose, then I’d love to hear it.
“And although it is a daring thing to discuss a subject that others have made a profession, nevertheless, I do not believe it is wrong to occupy with words a rank which many, with greater presumption, have held with deeds; for the errors that I commit in writing can be corrected without harm, but those which other have committed in practise cannot be recognised except through the downfall of their governments.”
Machiavelli, from the introduction to The Art of War.