This Modern Life
September 16, 2010 12:35 PM   Subscribe

A Dictionary of the Near Future: "The thing about the future is that it never feels the way we thought it would. New sensations require new terms; [here] are a few such terms to encapsulate our present moment."

Here's mine: genre singularity - the event occurring when the total number of musical genres is greater than the total number of actual songs

Be gentle; it's my first post :)
posted by bayani (26 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
FICTIVE REST: The inability of many people to fall asleep until after reading even the tiniest amount of fiction.

This used to be me. Then I started drinking.
posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on September 16, 2010 [5 favorites]

Oh! It's by Douglas Coupland! He's been creating this kind of thing since his first novel, which gave me the term "emotional ketchup burst", which is when you've kept all your various frustrations inside for so long that it finally spills out in a giant fit of anger, usually triggered by a relatively minor (and generally unrelated) event.
posted by hippybear at 12:43 PM on September 16, 2010

I liked 'em better when they were called "Sniglets".
posted by briank at 12:53 PM on September 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

So, this is Coupland providing a helpful glossary for all the cute terms he made up for his new book?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:57 PM on September 16, 2010

ANTIFLUKE A situation in the universe in which rigid rules of action exist to prevent coincidences from happening. Given the infinite number of coincidences that could happen, very few ever actually do.

Totally wrong. Virtually everything that happens in the universe is a coincidence, but we only have the brains to see a few.
Cows see even fewer. Maybe only one--"Hey. That's exactly what I was going to say."

PROCELERATION The acceleration of acceleration.

Too slow. We already have a term for this. In physics/mechanics it is called jerk.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:58 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

I started reading the list, and thought "Who the hell wrote this? Douglas Coupland? Oh. So he did."
posted by adamrice at 12:59 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know, it's not cool to like Douglas Coupland anymore, but I think this list is awesome anyways. I love most of the definitions with the exception of POST-HUMAN Whatever it is that we become next. I'd argue we cannot become post human until we become human first , and I'd say we have a ways to go yet.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:17 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

IAD, Internet Affective Disorder: Depression or mania brought on by Internets.
posted by The Whelk at 1:26 PM on September 16, 2010

I hadn't realized I was over Copeland, until I read this.

So, thanks for that.
posted by oddman at 2:03 PM on September 16, 2010

Novelization T-shirt Clothing designed by writers.
posted by orme at 2:09 PM on September 16, 2010

ROSENWALD’S THEOREM The belief that all the wrong people have self-esteem.

OK, I'm still laughing about this one....
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2010

Douglas Copeland, 1987
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2010

I didn't notice the byline at first, and when I got to these two:

GODSEEKING: An extreme version of Christmas Morning Feeling.
GRIM TRUTH: You’re smarter than TV. So what?

I rolled my eyes and thought "Great. Someone at the NYTimes Style section is moonlighting as a half-assed Douglas Coupland wanna-be." As I read on, I revised my initial diagnosis down to a quarter-assed DCw-b. Then I got to the end, and realized that everything above was actually by Coupland and that I now think of Coupland as a faded imitation of himself.

And the really peculiar thing is that I can't help but suspect that Coupland wouldn't be offended by my judgment. Instead, he'd name it something like "Simulacra-tic Selfening," give it a suitably pithy defintion, and think he'd crystallized into text something profound about our contemporary age.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:20 PM on September 16, 2010

I need words for the following things:

  • That feeling you get when too much time has passed and you should have been to the next subway stop by now, but the train keeps going and you end up in Queens, which is the exact opposit of where you're wanted to go.
  • Those short one or two second video clips you take of people standing still smiling stupidly because your camera was accidentally in video mode instead of still-picture mode.

  • posted by jeffamaphone at 2:50 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

    INSTANT REINCARNATION: The fact that most adults, no matter how great their life is, wish for radical change in their life. The urge to reincarnate while still alive is near universal.

    So much of this. ::Sigh::
    posted by Splunge at 2:56 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

    I was five or six items in, thinking it was another trying-to-be-funny-but-failing McSweeny's list. I was surprised it was NYT and even more surprised it was Coupland.
    posted by rocket88 at 2:59 PM on September 16, 2010

    Those short one or two second video clips you take of people standing still smiling stupidly because your camera was accidentally in video mode instead of still-picture mode.

    posted by InfidelZombie at 3:18 PM on September 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

    I'd like to add the following: FICTIVE Un-REST:

    What happens when you have to many books on the shelf you haven't read yet, and you can't settle down enough from your internet induced ADHD, to make a choice as to which to begin reading, and when you finally, after a super-human effort do make a choice, you always have the irritating notion in the back of your head that perhaps you should give up on contemporary fiction and just re-read great classics or old favorites, because life is too short to waste on lousy trendy ultra contemporary fiction that's just a bit to self-satisfied and too recursively ironic to do anyone any good whatsoever....
    posted by Skygazer at 3:21 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

    OBSESSIVE-REFRESHIVE DISORDER - the phenomena where an internet surfer refreshes a news site/aggregator several times per minute in the hope of something new and interesting showing up.
    posted by ymgve at 6:03 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Ooh, I can't get enough of what Douglas Coupland writes. Thanks!
    posted by zinfandel at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2010

    Adam 69: n. : Two police cars, parked next to each other, facing opposite directions, in such a way that the drivers side doors are only inches from each other, allowing the officers to chat with each other while waiting for a traffic violation to happen.

    posted by liza at 7:52 PM on September 16, 2010

    I liked this more than I expected. I thought it would be lame but actually a couple of the items made me think. I really *can't* describe the voice of my internal monologue, and it never occurred to me to try.
    posted by little light-giver at 10:14 PM on September 16, 2010

    Coupland. Copeland? No, Coooupland. Copland? No, Coooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuupland.

    I always want to pronounce it with a long o sound, but it's clearly spelled with an "ou."

    If I ever meet him, I suspect it'll go like that scene in Goldmember where Austin meets the mooooooole.
    posted by Eideteker at 4:52 AM on September 17, 2010

    Every third or so terms on this list would make a good band name.

    In announcer voice: "At the Verizon Amphitheater this Saturday, September 17th, the Copeland Fest, featuring Antifluke, Complex Separation, Grim Truth, Humanalia, and a very special apperance by Memesphere and Star Shock. Tickets only $29.95 at the box office. Get yours TODAY."
    posted by daHIFI at 1:04 PM on September 17, 2010

    Sorry, er, Coupland.
    posted by daHIFI at 1:05 PM on September 17, 2010

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