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#21270 - 03/06/01 12:20 PM Poshlost - morally tacky?  
Joined: Mar 2001
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BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman
BlanchePatch  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
New York City
For several years I've been using the Russian word "poshlost." I discovered the word in the NY Times with the brief definition of "morally tacky." I loved the concept--something that's not actually wrong, but not pleasing, a cheat, a sham, a facade of righteousness behind which is, well, not much. One of my favorite quick examples is parents who go to church only for the sake of their children. Unfortunately, the term seems so useful these days, with ubiquitous advertisements selling products promising instant "integrity," and parental "love," among other virtues, and, of course, ongoing demogogery in public office. I can see that if it means what I think it means, I'll be using it more and more in the 21st century. But I wanted to check. Does anyone know this word? Does it fill a gap in the English language, or is there an existing word that means the same thing?

Thanks,
Blanche


#21271 - 03/06/01 01:48 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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wwh Offline
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Dear BlanchePatch: It sounds as though it might apply to a Brit aristocrat fallen on evil days.


#21272 - 03/06/01 03:02 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah
RhubarbCommando  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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No, Bill; in Britain, if you are "posh" you don't get lost - it is the rest of the world that cannot find you


#21273 - 03/06/01 03:08 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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wwh Offline
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Dear RC: I was thinking of poshnesslost. If a lord rolled in the gutter, would he not then be poshlost?


#21274 - 03/06/01 03:21 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah
RhubarbCommando  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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Certainly not! [horrified icon]

If a Lord rolls in the gutter, then rolling in the gutter becomes the new posh!

(And who are you and I to question such things?) [irony icon]


#21275 - 03/06/01 03:48 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
you guys are on the wrong track; the word is pronounced /POSH lust/, which makes a lot more sense anyway.
I lifted the following out of a google/Gogol cache of a now seemingly dead link (thus the lack of proper attribution):

I'm reading Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, which is quite humorous in it's look at
banality. But it's more than just banality, according to the introduction:
The word translated as "banality" here is the Russian poshlost. For a full
comprehension of the meaning of poshlost (pronounced "POSHlust"), readers are
referred to Vladimir Nabokov's Nikolai Gogol (1944), which contains a twelve-page
disquisition on the subject. Poshlost is a well-rounded, untranslatable whole made
up of banality, vulgarity, and sham. It applies not only to obvious trash (verbal and
animate), but also to spurious beauty, spurious importance, spurious cleverness. It
is an ideal subject for Gogolian treatment, a "gape in mankind," as he calls
Plyushkin, an absence he can bring to enormous presence by filling it with verbal
matter. Gogol's portrayal of poshlost goes far beyond topical satire or a
denunciation of social evils. His characters are not time bound; they inhabit an
indefinitely expanded time in which they lose the sharply negative features of vice
and wickedness and instead become wildly funny. They also have no psychology,
no "inner nature."


#21276 - 03/06/01 08:05 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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wwh Offline
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All Hail tsuwm! When the rest of us can only kid around, he comes up with some worthwhile erudition.


#21277 - 03/06/01 09:56 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman
BlanchePatch  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
New York City
Wow, tsuwm, fascinating! Thanks! I'm going to have to check out the source. God forbid I'm without a word to describe the creepiness that is the current trendy "lifestyle." (I'm in New York City, so I'm in Consumer Culture Central.) And now I actually know how to pronounce it (not that I had let that stop me).

This board is a great thing!


#21278 - 03/07/01 07:14 AM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
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Switzerland
I'm without a word to describe the creepiness that is the current trendy "lifestyle."
I could not agree more! (Even though I live in another part of the global village).
Yesterday I had a brief discussion with a dear colleague who, up to now, tried to lead a life in harmony with the environment, save energy, eat naturally etc. Now he is invaded by doubts, and says: those who consume more provide work for more people, and thus fight poverty..




#21279 - 03/07/01 02:14 PM Re: Poshlost - morally tacky?  
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wwh Offline
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Dear wsieber: I think the friend who advocated moderate consumption is right. The surest way to start a depression is to have investors pull their money back, which means more downsizing and unemployment. And more judicious investment in the third world will help them catch us with us.


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