Taming the Slippery Tendrils of Language: The New American Dictionary

0 Posted by - April 20, 2007 - Blog

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, has released it’s version of The New American Dictionary – the Interactive Security * Fear edition. In it, they track words that have entered our vocabulary since September 11. Gems such as Freedom Fries, Islamofascist, Friendly Fire, Smart Bomb, Surge, Torture, Regime Change are disclosed, peeled, revealed and laid out for all to see in their various disguises and definitions.

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things says The New American Dictionary is a humorous, provocative book that calls for readers to pay attention to the ways in which terminology of fear, security and war have permeated American English post-9/11.

“Interactive” refers to the open, slippery way that these words enter our language, and to aspects of the dictionary. There are 57 terms that are left undefined for the reader to pencil in their own definition, and another 10 definitions were sold on Ebay and purchased by people around the globe. Dick Cheney, for example, is rumored to have bought “Friendly Fire” as a gift for a hunting friend.

Readers are encouraged to submit new definitions to the Institute for inclusion in the second edition, slated for 2009.

For the record, I’ve got a few words I’d like the second edition to tackle, not so much new words as old stand-by American stalwarts like: Freedom, Democracy, Happiness, Profit, Love, Truth. I’ve got a few Canadian words I’m having trouble with, too – Multiculturalism, Liberal, Peacekeeping, Sustainable…my old dictionary just isn’t working as well as it used to.

The New American Dictionary will be launched Thursday, April 26th, 6:30PM – 8:30PM Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Dr. Cambridge MA

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