Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm not going to go all magniloquent and suggest the daily email is supererogatory but HONESTLY...

Some time ago I signed up for some handy little daily email that sends me a word for the day. The idea being to increase my puny and frequently inaccurate vocabulary. Mostly this is good. Oh okay so I ignore the fast majority of them and can remember exactly um… one (but that one is “jollification” which means what it sounds like and it brilliant) but still. Even so, I’ve started to suspect the system has run out of words I can be reasonably expected to use in conversation or writing and is now just taking the piss.

Take today’s word: deus ex machina.

Okay it’s pretty, yes, but what’s its meaning?

“In ancient Greek and Roman drama, a god introduced by means of a crane to unravel and resolve the plot.”

Great, that’ll come in handy, then. Can't think how many times I've been at a loss to describe just that.


shiny said...

It's when you paint your characters into a corner and then some act of god or magical angel saves them without any explanation or relevance to the plot. Is way for lazy author to solve problems without any forethought about the plot.

EG. Harry and Vincent were in big trouble, being tied to the bottom of the ocean and their airtanks empty. That darstardly diamond smuggler may have won. They'll never prevent the Darstardly Villain from selling those diamonds on the black mark market. More importantly, as they gazed into each other's eyes, they realised they would never have a chance to express their secret love for each other.

Suddenly, a giant squid swam by and snapped the tether with its giant tentacle. Harry and Vincent grabbed onto the back of a pod of dolphins that happened to be passing and were taken swiftly to the surface.

Anonymous said...

Screw deus ex machina (otherwise known as "machinery of the gods"), what happened to Harry and Vincent?

Mr P.

shiny said...

They went home and played together. With their remote control daleks.

Anonymous said...

So THAT'S what sonic screwdrivers are for.
Sorry Kate, did you say something in your blog?

Mr P.