Friday, December 12, 2014

All things twee

Sometimes I get comments here.

Mostly, of course, I don't. I like to attribute this scarcity to people reading my blog in a reverential, rapt silence. Would you, for instance, while attending an author reading with James Joyce reading from Finnegans Wake, suddenly raise your hand and say "Excuse me. What does "humptyhillhead" mean"?

I'd like to.

Not that my blog compares well to Finnegans Wake. Curiously enough, my blog probably compares best to something like, I don't know, goat cheese. So, you wouldn't taste a nice goat cheese and then scribble on it "Wish I had some crusty french bread and a mandarin orange." Though if someone would develop a tasty, edible pen ink that writes on any surface, well, why not?

Anyway, if one of these rare comments is on one of my older posts I have to personally approve it. This is a spam catching device. And usually those comments are indeed spam, which I mostly delete, but occasionally post and mock. Every once in awhile though someone, stumbling drunkenly across the Internet (we are all drunk on the Internet), will leave a sign of their passing on some blog post of a year or so ago.

Before I continue I should note that I find even the simplest of comments to be strangely inscrutable. I think this might be because I am so busy working out whether or not it's a compliment. So when, the other day, I found a comment on an old post about my library trading in its stupid vending machines for a sushi bar I was pretty baffled.

"so very twee." The comment said. That's all.

"so very twee."

I spent the next several hours studying up on the word "twee". The unfortunate result is that "twee" is predominantly pejorative, negative, and critical. The Internet insists specifically that it is derogatory. "Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental" goes Google's first definition. Nevertheless I like to think of this rare reader comment as a fond one, from the "almost too charming and cute to be true" camp of twee definitions, but it's an uphill battle. I pretty much had to invent that definition. Despite the irrefutable gloriousness of Winnie the Pooh, for instance, the big time definition of twee comes down to: sickeningly cute.

But here is the beautiful part. The origin of twee itself, absolute true story, is from how a small child says "sweet". Try it! "twee, twee! Mo twee!" It turns out that "Twee", the adorable, affected mimic of baby talk, is the most insanely twee word in the English language! This creates a delicious reality: there is no way to use the word twee, negatively, without being a hypocritical asshole.  This is perfect.

If you don't like things that are twee, then stop complaining like a four year old with a lisp!


  1. Under "Labels:" for your blog description it says,

    "analysis, cm, comments, rock, words"


    I think I must climb a twee and think about that.

    1. Well I personally found the way you said "tree" to be adorable!!!

      rok, not rock. Very super secret code label along with "tombs" and the very rare "wee".

  2. I had never heard of this term before, but its strangely cute in its own way. Interesting how the culture of words changes with the culture of our understanding of them. The internet hosts a majority of strange and unique dictions of its own that one would only find reading an urban dictionary.

    1. Oh, I do so agree. I used to fret about making up words and reshaping their definitions, but I have much given myself over to the wild elasticity of language.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.