Monday, December 10, 2012

Notes on a Scandal

I finished it and it's great. That is all. If you want to read something succinct, with not a word out of place, with two distinctive and interesting female characters, where moral or ethical concerns get hazy and where the author absolutely does not intrude a la 'this is what you should be thinking', then this is for you. It's a quick, easy read but that doesn't make it any less large. Oh no no no.

I can't wait to work my way through her oeuvre.

I love saying oeuvre.

Yesterday I made hors d'oeuvres and just now I got to wondering the meaning of the term.

Found the following here

What's the origin of "hors d'oeuvres"?

Dear Straight Dope:
What is the origin and history of the word hors d'oeuvre? I can't seem to find out anything about it!
Quoting William and Mary Morris' Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins: The French phrase hors d'oeuvres literally means "outside the works." Originally it was an architectural term referring to an outbuilding not incorporated into the architect's main design. The phrase was borrowed by France's culinary experts to indicate appetizers customarily served apart from the main course of a dinner. Thus hors d'oeuvres are, quite literally, outside the main design of the meal. Vraiment, c'est simple, n'est-ce-pas?

A related word is canapés, which are "savory appetizers made with a bread, cracker or pastry base, so that they can be picked up with the fingers and eaten in one or two bites." Canapés are a type of hors d'oeuvres, but the common tendency is to figure you've got your canapés and then you've got your hors d'oeuvres, which are everything else.

Although you didn't ask, we're on a roll (so to speak) here. The word canapé originally meant a canopy of mosquito netting over a couch or bed. In time it came to mean the bed or divan itself--and then into English with its present meaning of a bit of bread or cracker with a tasty mixture of meat, cheese, or fish spread on't.

Correct pronunciations: Say or-DERV for hors d'oeuvre (and for hors d'oeuvres, too) and kan-uh-PAY for canapé or canapés.

8 comments:

Alex said...

Sounds interesting. Might give it a look. After all, I've got nothing to lose since it's nice and short. I was thinking about checking out Maxine McKew's book too, since I see it's down to four bucks.

At least I've got a bit of time now (thankfully). Expect email from me tomorrow evening.

I like hearing about the origins of words, too. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to know Latin and old-timey Greek and have a proper understanding of all (many) of the English roots. It's pretty far down the list of priorities though (don't have that much time on my hands).

Also, what happened to the "fucking idiots" post? I was looking forward to getting stuck into that one and it seems to have disappeared.

Melba said...

Hey Alex, I just sent you an email, sorry, saying that I was squirming down here so it's nice to see you will email me shortly.

The fucking idiots are back in drafts because frankly it was too depressing seeing their faces each time I swung by here, also the more I thought about it, I felt some compassion for them and thought there was nothing to gain by going over it I don't think and I guess I didn't want to spend valuable time on that issue. But put any comments here if you like.

I've been working hard not to get drawn into certain discourses that are happening around me, eg on twitter. The current ones are:

- look how cute these cats are
- look how cute these dogs are
- how demeaning is the term 'mummy bloggers'
- why we need feminism
- why we don't need feminism
- why Mamamia should be paying writers
- why Michelle Grattan is this, that or the other

So much hot air, going round in circles and honestly: women bitching at other women

Bit over it.

I'm very excited to get your feedback... yay

Melba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melba said...

Seems to me my comments get posted twice when I'm not logged in and once when I already am.

Fucken thing shits me.

Alex said...

First lot of feedback sent.

I've just had a long weekend of debating the royal prank issue with my family, some of whom had been staying with me, and I thought I might throw out some of the stuff that's come up:

• Firstly, I don't listen to commercial radio and I've never heard of these two clowns before. In spite of that, I'm quite comfortable calling them clowns, since they're commercial radio DJs who apparently make prank calls to hospitals as part of their show.

• The first thing that came to my mind when I heard of this was how I've been told several times by people involved in both telecommunications and surveillance that if you make a secret recording of a conversation with someone, you need their consent to communicate the contents of that recording to anyone else. Monday, I started to see some chatter in the media about this, but for the first three or four days, all I was seeing was comments by 2DayFM spokespeople saying "We believe we have acted within the law". How about this, news media: instead of just reporting something that was said in a press statement, why don't you do some research and let us know what the actual bloody law is, you lazy cunts.

• If you're talking about patterns of behaviour or the history of incidents involving the station, or talk radio in general, of course you're going to bring up Sandilands, Jones, etc; but when you're talking about this incident in particular, how much should that stuff factor in?

• When The Chaser pulled their motorcade stunt, I seem to remember most people (myself included) thought that any outrage should have been directed at APEC's piss-poor security. Isn't this a bit like that? If not, why not? What if one of the APEC security guards had committed suicide after the incident? Would that have retroactively made the stunt reprehensible?

And as for the other stuff:

• So far, I haven't been able to articulate exactly why I don't like the term "mummy blogger". It just irks me.

• Maybe sometimes I have trouble separating the good feminism from the shitty self-serving kind, but even I know we still need people fighting for the rights of women here and elsewhere. (Make sure to read some of the references and external links. I know, I'm better off staying away from the upsetting stuff; I just can't help myself).

• What the hell is Mamamia?

• Grattan is a political commentator, right? Is she a regular on either Q&A or Insiders? I've got someone in my head, but I think it might be the wrong person.

Melba said...

I don't listen to commercial radio either, and since I would get so steamed listening even to Jon Faine, I stopped that too. I don't listen to radio, I don't watch tv news/current affairs (apart from occasionally, Q & A) and I avoid the comments of say The Age online. Having said that, these shows are stupid and the people they employ are not serious practitioners of radio. The people who listen to this sort of stuff - and think it's funny - are not my type of people.
With the Chaser thing - and I never watched them, so I can't really comment: if someone had killed themselves after one of their pranks, then of course it would have changed everything. Until that nurse died, some people thought it was funny and some people thought it was embarrassing (mainly because of the hullaballoo from the London press.)

I think Mummy Blogger referred initially to people who blogged about being a mother and their kids. Now it seems to cover women who blog who are mothers. Can you see the difference?

Absolutely agree we still need people fighting for the rights of women. What shits me is that so many people are using their energy on in-fighting (and blaffing on and on about the term 'Mummy Blogger' for example) instead of focusing on things that really matter, like the story you linked to.

Mamamia is Mia Freedman's blog. She used to edit Cleo or Cosmo or something, and is one of the females du jour who has a large platform and high profile. http://www.mamamia.com.au/author/mia/ She purports to be all about feminist issues and is one of the people in the 'anti-sexualisation of children brigade. Yesterday she pissed off some twitter people because in an interview with Caitlin Moran (who's a British writer/feminist, she's pretty good too, I think, has two books out that are on my list to read) they talked about rape and talked about 'you wouldn't leave your keys in the car and not expect it to get stolen' type of comment which enraged other women who comment on these things.

Michelle Grattan is the doyenne of political reporting. She's been around forever, I always respected her but with Gillard as PM, she has made what I see as some bad calls in her reportage (maybe because she doesn't want to see biased towards a female PM? Maybe because she doesn't like Gillard? Maybe because she doesn't agree with her policies? I don't know). But even though I've been critical of Gillard, earlier on, I don't think a reporter of Grattan's standing should be seen to have bias. Might just be my perception though. I do remember Marieke mentioning that she met her once and Grattan was wearing enormously high black heels and stockings which was funny because she always looks so dowdy in pics. I liked that little snippet.

I was just blowing off steam but twitter is a much better place before Australia wakes up it seems and I think I might have to do some culling and weed out the people who talk about stuff I don't want to see or that's distracting.

Alex said...

• I just don't feel right about judging the morality of an action by putting so much weight on consequences that were unplanned and would have been very difficult to foresee. Like I say, I think prank calling a fucking hospital is a prick of a thing to do; and If the law says it's illegal to play back a secretly recorded conversation without permission, then by all means, prosecute everyone involved; but I can't make the leap and blame them when it comes to the suicide.

I think Mummy Blogger referred initially to people who blogged about being a mother and their kids. Now it seems to cover women who blog who are mothers. Can you see the difference?

I can, and I believe you've nailed what's been bugging me about it. It's about defining women through their child bearing abilities -- which, of course, is always the most important aspect of a woman. Here's a question: Do you reckon this is another one of those things where women cop the most shit from other women? It has been in my experience. I've got women in my own family who think I'm lazy and irresponsible for not having kids. Mostly the older ones. I suspect a lot of the fellas think I'm probably just a lesbian.

• The "keys in the car" thing is one of those issues where I tend to disagree with the more enlightened sisters. Yes, crime is the fault of criminals, you don't blame the victim, we need to change societal attitudes, etc; but the harsh fucking reality is that until we fix society up so that it's safe and perfect and wonderful, we all still have to live in this broken, shitty society, and it seems insane to me to jump on people for suggesting practical things women can do to look out for themselves, especially when they live in places where there are high levels of crime and violence.

Melba said...

Agree to one.

Point 2 (to a point) I don't know where the term has come from but I think it started with mothers who blogged about their children, then maybe bled to women with children who blogged (regardless of whether they blathered on about their kids) and now, possibly, refers to women who blog OR a type of woman who blogs.

Point 3: I don't want to agree to but I think with a lot of the stuff about how we talk about rape, people forget there is 'ideal world' and how things 'should' be and there is 'real world' and how things often are (as you said, a broken, shitty society etc.)

Hmmm.