This is a slightly rewritten version of a blog I wrote five years ago. I think it’s still (or more) germane today.
BLOGORRHEA. I just made this word up. (I haven’t seen it anywhere else.) It’s related of course to “logorrhea,” an “excessive flowing of words,” which is related to “diarrhea,” which comes from dia, “through,” and rhein, “flow” via Middle English, Latin, and Greek. I receive a lot of blogorrhea via email. I’m sure you do, too.
As you may know, the word “blog” comes from “web log.” A web log is a short personal essay published (posted) on the Internet. Wikipedia credits the term “web log” to Jorn Barger, who seems to have first used it in 1997. The short form, “blog,” Wikipedia goes on, “was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May of 1999. Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used ‘blog’ as both a noun and verb.”
And now it seems that practically everyone blogs. We all have opinions and we’re all entitled to express them. I almost wrote “we’re entitled to express them as long as we don’t commit libel or hurt anyone,” but that distinction seems not to exist anymore. We get spam blogs. We get attack blogs. We get bigoted blogs. We get blogs from trolls. We get opinions along the whole continuum of dumb to wise. Everybody’s got something to say.
You know I like to invent words, so here are some more bloggish words.
BLOGOLALIA. We find glossolalia in the Bible; it’s speaking in tongues, which happened after the first Pentecost when those little flames lit up on people’s heads. People in some churches still indulge in glossolalia, which the American Heritage Dictionary defines as “fabricated nonmeaningful speech.” The sounds that babies make as they’re experimenting with learning to talk are also examples of glossolalia. When I was writing Finding New Goddess, I Found Panglossolalia, whose name is a portmanteau word. It’s the name of Dr. Pangloss, the professor in Voltaire’s short novel Candide who teaches that everything happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds, conflated with “glossolalia.” (In my book, Panglossolalia delivers an infomercial.) A portmanteau word is what happens when two words are telescoped into one. The term was invented by Lewis Carroll, who explained that in “Jabberwocky” the word “frumious” is a portmanteau word made of “fuming” and “furious.” What I’m doing with this blog is creating portmanteau words around “blog.” We find blogolalia in people (moi?) who never know when it’s time to stop writing. They’re also afflicted with BLOGOMANIA. When we’re reading and writing and forwarding blogs all the time, we’re probably suffering from BLOGOHOLISM and may need a twelve-step program. (Hello, my name is Verbena. I’m the Found Goddess of Wordplay and Really Awful Verse and I’m a blogoholic.”) Or maybe we’re just indulging in BLOGOMANCY, which is not quite the same as cartomancy.
BLOGARIA. This is “blog” plus “aria,” a melody or solo vocal piece in an opera. A blogaria would thus be the writing of high-flying sentences that soar like sopranos. (I’m thinking of the arias of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, but any other operatic soprano or tenor part will do.) And I’m also thinking about how to make up other forms of this word. Perhaps one who writes blogarias (a superblogger?) is a BLOGARIST. Or a BLOGARIATRIST. How on earth to pronounce that word? English, like classical Greek, often likes to put the accent on the penultimate syllable, so my best guess is blog-air-ee-AT-rist. Good grief—I just invented the word and now I have to figure out how to pronounce it, too?? Pronunciation is important, of course. Victor Borge used to get a big laugh when he talked about opera and how the soprano always sings her “die-aria.” It came out “diarrhea.” He had an accent and he was extremely intelligent; of course he did it on purpose.
BLOGOCRACY. What if our government comes to this? That “cracy” syllable indicates government or rule and comes to us via the Latin cratia from the Greek kratos, “strength, power.” “-Cracy” is a favorite suffix among people who like to create portmanteau words—mobocracy and kleptocracy, for example. So picture this. We’ve got blogariatrists (who write blogs we agree with) and BLOGIDIOTS (whom we don’t agree with), and they’ve all got access to the Internet. All the time. Some bloggers are influential. But what if the blogidiots start getting themselves elected to public office? We might end up with a blogocracy, which would be, as Macbeth said, “full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing.”
VEROBLOG. The “vero” syllable comes from the Latin verus, “true.” Related words are “veracity,” “verisimilitude,” and that ever-useful little adverb “very.” I guess a verb or adjective becomes truer if you modify it with “very.” Presumably, then, a veroblog is one containing true facts, as opposed to the other kind, which we get in politics and advertising. Like beauty and morality these days, however, veracity seems to be situational, so one person’s veroblog may be another’s BLOG-O’NUTS. Ya gotta watch out. And perhaps blogs expressing stupid opinions can also be called ILLEGITIBLOGS.
It’s time to wrap this up. But wait! I haven’t even gotten to BLOGOSOPHY and BLOGOLOGY yet. Knowing that the “sophy” comes from the Greek sophos, “wise,” and the “logy” comes from the Greek logos, “word,” you can no doubt supply your own definitions.