Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”
My words this week are from Watching the English by Kate Fox.
The first phrase is “chattering classes,” a term that I haven’t heard before, but according to Wikipedia is now in use in the US in a way similar to the phrase “liberal elite.”
During the research for this book, I was often asked (by members of the chattering classes) what was the point in my writing about Englishness, or indeed any other national identity, when the inexorable spread of American cultural imperialism would soon make this an issue of purely historical interest? (pp. 13, 14)
chattering classes: According to Wikipedia, “the chattering classes is a generally derogatory term first coined by Auberon Waugh often used by pundits and political commentators to refer to a politically active, socially concerned and highly educated section of the ‘metropolitan middle class’.”
By the way, Kate Fox’s opinion is that the presence of globalization is not, in fact, a cause of culture homogeneity, but correlates to an increase in appreciation for one’s own culture:
Just because people everywhere want to wear Nike trainers and drink Coke does not necessarily mean that they are any less fiercely concerned about their cultural identity — indeed, many are prepared to fight and die for their nation, religion, territory, culture or whatever aspect of ‘tribal’ identity is perceived to be at stake. (p. 14)
My second term is “DIY.” I learned this three or four years ago, but I was surprised that it’s so common in England that Kate Fox, an anthropologist, didn’t think to define it. And, that it could be used in terms like DIYer (one engaged in DIY) or DIYing.
We are a nation of nestbuilders. Almost the entire population is involved in DIY. In a survey conducted by some of my colleagues about fifteen years ago, only two per cent of English males and 12 per cent of females said that they never did any DIY.
Many places on the Web will tell you that the DIY stands for “do it yourself” and is most frequently used in relation to home improvement projects but has also branched out to other things like indie music. My favorite definition comes courtesy of the glossary page on the Potato Launcher Plans website. Because, really, if you’re going to own a Potato Launcher, you should build it yourself:
DIY stands for “Do It Yourself”! The best kind of mindset to have! A DIY type person is typically very capable, has great abilities, learns quickly, and can stand on his/her own two feet without relying on others for coddling. The type of person that could be thrown in a time machine by a disgruntled scientist who wishes to be rid of you (maybe a stretch, but let’s go along) and could do almost magical things and amaze people with their knowledge.
Check today’s Wondrous Words Wednesday post at BermudaOnion’s Weblog for more words gathered by bloggers this week.