Word about Words


“Words signify man’s refusal to accept the world as it is.”


Walter Kaufmann


Sophie’s Choice

From an article about the film Sophie’s Choice by Eric D. Snider:

“Of all the thousands of films ever made, how many have titles that became common figures of speech? A handful, maybe? Sophie’s Choice is one of them, its title now shorthand for a seemingly impossible decision between two equally attractive options. (“My best friend is getting married at the same time that my favorite band is doing their farewell concert?! What a Sophie’s choice!”) Even people who haven’t seen the movie know what the expression means, a testament to the movie’s impact on pop culture.”

There’s a perfect example of this phrase being used, beginning at about 3:15 in this video from one of my favorite shows:

Words about Words


“From colonial times Americans have cobbled a vernacular language that…multiplies the world through a kaleidoscope of meaning. It belongs to the underworld, the streets, the back room, the geeky realms of the digital frontier, where englihtenment requires its own lingo. Walt Whitman celebrated slang as ‘the lawless germinal element…behind all poetry,’ and sought to celebrate, in contrast to the formal language of England, the ‘real genius underneath our speech, which is not what the school men suppose, but wild, intractable, suggestive.'”

-John Leland, Hip: The History