It is held in some ovoids that the only way to understand what you wrote when drunk is to repeat the experience. Although fixed habits ill become a man without a fixed income, I have knocked back the odd glass of phylloxera blood from the Priorat and will now endeavour to explain to you, dear reader, what I meant when I suggested (to not particularly widespread incomprehension) that it was improbable that a word like hip emanated from seeing or looking, and that the “normal” origin for “such terminology” was f*cking. Here is my argument, which is handicapped by being both desperately unfashionable and more or less unrefutable, due to the lack of evidence:
- Old-style farmers spent huge amounts of time talking about reproduction, because it was clear to them that beasts and vegetables doing their stuff held the key to their existence. (Don’t believe me? Go sit for a few evenings like a stupid tourist in one of the few remaining functional hamlets in the mountains, where the first car didn’t arrive till the 50s, and where a particularly fierce drought would cause panic until quite recently.)
- Because food and children were so important, farmers used magical rites to try to regulate the seasons. (Frazer: “Under the names of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis, the peoples of Egypt and Western Asia represented the yearly decay and revival of life, especially of vegetable life, which they personified as a god who annually died and rose again from the dead. In name and detail the rites varied from place to place: in substance they were the same.”)
- When people went to live in towns, food supply chains became more efficient and less visible, infant mortality fell, and creativity slowly began to replace fertility in the public eye as the most salient means of reproducing society.
- However, instead of phasing out the gods of biological reproduction, people kept on the sacred harlots, the corn spirit and the divine animal and upgraded them to become models (all titted out in Southern Californiay), gardening experts and celebrity chefs. Massacres were then conducted every season by the ratings analysts, employing glee and other popular eighteenth century musical genres.
- A corresponding, linguistic sublimation occurred, in which the holy lexicon of sex (book, anyone?) became the even more confusing terminology of style. This I attempted to documented in several fanciful etymologies in my original post; a more plausible case might be guay (original post/update), which, in one of its incarnations, may well have gone from being “a prefix in many toponomics of indigenous, local and Inca origin” to being used in what I think are urban expressions like guay de(l) Paraguay, meaning la crème de la crème.
I hope I’ve explained myself well enough to enable Mark Liberman to decide whether I get a law or not. It would be nice (and some of those pink fluffy handcuffs would come in handy as well), if only to liven up the dungeons round here.
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