or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Show and Tell

When you're famous, and therefore your every utterance is widely reported, it's not a bad idea to consider words and their meanings before you say them.

Pop singer Madonna has had some problems with a controversial element in her show, the performance of a song while she's attached to a giant cross covered with mirror tiles, like a cruciform disco ball, while wearing a crown of thorns. Blasphemy, as her critics charge, or an artistic statement about whatever she thinks it's a statement about? Don't know, don't particularly care, but here's her response to complaints from religious leaders, from this news story:

"It is no different than a person wearing a cross or 'taking up the cross' as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole."

She added, "I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing."

I know: she's probably saying that Jesus would be encouraging peace, love, and understanding. But it sure looks as if she's saying that Jesus would be communicating this message by suspending himself from a giant disco-ball crucifix, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't. As well, I'd have to say that charging people up to $350 to watch oneself being mock-crucified is not quite the same as wearing a gold cross around one's neck, but, as she herself has proven for the last twenty-plus years, there's no such thing as bad publicity.


From this mildly amusing piece about skimpily dressed superheroes, or "underwear perverts", as Boing Boing has taken to calling them:

But what the Manhunter lacks in garments, he makes up for in accessories—a bilious blue cape, a red harness, and blue pirate boots round out his outfit.

Now, here's the complete definition of "bilious" from Answers.com:

1. Of, relating to, or containing bile; biliary.
1. Characterized by an excess secretion of bile.
2. Relating to, characterized by, or experiencing gastric distress caused by a disorder of the liver or gallbladder.
3. Appearing as if affected by such a disorder; sickly.
2. Resembling bile, especially in color:
a bilious green.
3. Having a peevish disposition; ill-humored.

That cape: related to bile? Nope. Greenish? Nope. Ill-tempered? Nope. So it's official: this writer has somehow decided that "bilious" means "billowing".


Blogger Frank said...

The writer could be thinking "bilious" means a particularly virulent shade of any color. SLIGHTLY less inexplicable, I think.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

The cape isn't a nasty colour, though, at least not judging by the picture accompanying the article. It's just blue, the same colour as the boots--a very nice blue, actually. The skin is closer to what we'd ordinarily think of as bilious, but even that isn't right, because it's a brightish, leafy green--a fresh, rather than a sickly, shade.

I mean, you could be right. Without speaking to the author, I'll never know. My money's on "billowy"/"bilious", though. It would not surprise me at all.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 11:47:00 PM  

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