If the Trumpocalypse actually hits, you’ll need this disaster preparedness bundle


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/08/if-the-trumpocalypse-actually.html


Something tells me that fallout shelters and “How to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland” guides would be more useful.


No antidepressants, anxiolytics, or antipsychotics. Please fix this.


All I would probably need is a shovel, or maybe a brush. Apocalypse means to uncover something secret, it does not have anything to do with doom and disasters.


But what about all these buckets of instant potato soup I bought?


The seals on the vault door pop, and the sound echoes over the wasteland. The heavy metal door moves slowly for the first time in many years. A lone survivor surveys the desolation.

“Well,” he says. “Time to start my small business.”


I still don’t understand why they haven’t hired you to do their ad copy for them yet.


List fails: it doesn’t have a link to a realtor in Canada.


Hey, so it turns out that language is a living thing and word meanings change over time! Who knew?


Meanings don’t quite change, it is an accumulative rather than substitutive process. So each word can and does mean everything that it ever has. A meaning which has a thousand years of precedent might be more obvious than one with only a hundred years, but it is no more nor less valid as a possible meaning.


I think you are talking about the definition of the original Greek root of the word.


Partially. It is a loanword. But people borrow words from other languages because of their existing meanings, rather than in spite of these meanings. Things get obscure when one can see the roots of the word in use, and how they can be meaningful in certain contexts - only to then have them decontextualized in other uses, where it has no apparent connection to its roots and what it literally means. Sure, you can do that. But I am not sure why it’s a good idea. It might be less confusing to instead create a new word which doesn’t already mean something else.

Otherwise, I can deal with words being overloaded to have dozens of different and even contradictory meanings. If you can!



  A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

  by Barry Hughart

  For Ann and Pete

Caveat Oriens

  prolepsis (prō lep’ sis), n., pl. -ses(-sēz). 1. Rhet. the anticipation of possible objections in order to answer them in advance. 2. the assigning of a person, event, etc., to a period earlier than the actual one.

  The Random House Dictionary of the English Language

Caveat Occidens

  Chen. To stand still. To gallop at full speed.

  Wan. A small mouth. Some say a large mouth.

  Ch'he. Devoid of intelligence, deficiency of wit, silly, idiotic. Also used for borrowing and returning books.

  Pee. A dog under the table.

  A dog with short legs.

  A short-headed dog.

  Maou Tsaou. A scholar not succeeding and giving himself over to liquor.

  — The Chinese Unicorn, edited, from Chinese-English dictionaries, by Thomas Rowe; printed for Robert Gilkey (private circulation).


Fair enough. I have a pretty strong attachment to the OED, and some people see that as inflexible. There may be some truth to that.


I don’t have an OED handy here. But I will note that I am no less likely to read critically into the hermeneutics of reference books than I am of essays, research, or anything else. There is no literary or lexical “atom” where I consider the reading of anything to be ultimately authoritative.


We always had one in our home, but English was not always the language spoken there. As I was improving my English fluency, I spent a bunch of time with the OED, and it always seemed “ultimately authoritative to me”. But I acknowledge that there are other dictionaries. I actually spent a decent amount of time in my academic research looking at very old dictionaries, because descriptions of processes from historic eras use the definitions of words as they were at the time that the description was written. It can sometimes make a big difference.

One of my favorite historical nautical terms is “roving”. In the OED and modern dictionary it means “wandering”. Primarily because the song “a-roving”, which is a very old seafaring song. But originally it had nothing at all to do with wandering. Roving, is a conjugation of “to reeve”, which meant “to thread a rope through a ring or other aperture, especially a block”. So if you take the last part of the chorus to the song-
“I’ll go no more a-roving with you fair maid” (about something a sailor no longer gets to do upon his departure)
You begin to see that the song is actually intensely pornographic. And the original verses were even worse than the chorus. I will not copy them here.
I just thought that was worth mentioning. MB


Don’t forget your economy sized bottle of lighter fluid for starting dumpster fires.


If the Trumpocalypse actually hits, you’ll need this disaster preparedness bundle

Touché StackSocial. Well done.


I’ve got the perfect music selection.


Meanwhile, the people who have actually been using that language through that time might be looking at you and saying

What it “literally” means is, obviously, what someone arbitrarily decided it meant at some point. Which does not invalidate what people since then have decided the meaning is. Since their entire purpose is as a communication of ideas, words don’t really have a useful meaning that’s separate from their actual usage in context, ya know.