Move Along Now Mr. Artisanal

Mr. Artisanal

If the literate among you are reading this, it means the therapy hasn’t worked properly. But read on in any case.

The great Greek philosopher Heraclides, a student of Plato and a man known to like his ouzo cold and his lamb kabobs hot, gave us the insightful quote “The only constant is change.” Some say he was a great thinker, others say he was a genius.

He was an idiot.

Heavy Research Into Gender Reassignment

After much clinical research in an unlicensed basement apartment below a tattoo parlor, which itself was below street level, as well as heavy number-crunching from numbers I randomly came up with when I fell asleep on my key board, the ultimate, dare I say Platonic truth is that change really isn’t the only constant. Stupidity is. Let’s examine the evidence.

While I was in the hospital today with my father, as he recovered from being sliced open and butterflied like a 77-year old package of recently boiled Coorsh or Schwartz’s smoked meat so they could restore his porous, crooked spine to a state that could support his Dilaudid-filled body again, we talked about what would be his next operation. I suggested instead of his knee or his personality, maybe a gender reassignment operation. Then it dawned on me — why the heck do we call it “gender reassignment” when “sex change” was a perfectly apt description?

The words “gender reassignment” sound like a kind of operation where the doctors would reassign his sexual bits to different parts of his body. Maybe they’d put his penis on forehead? His testicles could go underneath his armpits? That would be quite the reassignment. But had I used the now passé “sex change operation” I would have been calling it what is it. I fell prey to being stupid and using something abstract to describe something concrete.

Ugly Women

So why does this qualify as stupidity? First of all, my father would make a very ugly woman if he would have a sex change operation. He doesn’t have the legs for it, he gets 5 o’clock shadow, and he can barely walk in flat shoes let alone anything with a heel. But I digress.

Stupidity rears its ugly head not just in medical descriptions, and more prevalent of late, idiots on the Internet trying to commit stunts of bravery and stupidity in the name of fame (or infamy). Through a form of vocabulary abuse and trickery, us North Americans let ourselves be abused by the various marketing departments into buying crap because of how we name it. The biggest idiocy perpetrated is the word “artisanal” being attached to any product to make it seem more unique, more handcrafted. And to be able to charge 20% more for nothing.

Abuse of Art

Artisanal bread? Well, it could be hand-crafted by some bread fetishist who failed out of fine arts. Artisanal jams, jellies, fruit, cheeses, meats – maybe, but it’s a stretch. How much artistic handcrafting goes into meat, I ask you? Is the salami you bought beveled and shellacked in such a way as to elicit the word “craftsmanship” or are you looking for something salty, fatty and garlicky that goes well on rye bread with some mustard when you’re at the meat counter of the deli?

Lately I have seen “artisanal” attached to items that I don’t think genuinely qualify as being passionately created by a skilled craftsman (or craftswoman). For example, they attached artisanal to the following: men’s undershirts, power tools, condoms, paper, tampons, hand towels, aluminum foil, and I think I saw “artisanal iPhone” somewhere recently, although I could be mistaken.

I think this could all be summed up by examining the word artisanal itself If you look at its constituent components, it reads “Art Is Anal” which I think we could all agree upon after at least five or six shots of ouzo is pretty ass-backwards and yet tellingly creative of me. Furthermore, if we return to our original statement from Heraclides, an ancient Greek guy, who most likely hung around the boys locker room rubbing his hands in glee like a perverted Benny Hill character, we can see where the “anal” part of “artisanal” comes from. On a tangentially related note, my therapist cousin pointed out to me some time ago that this word is made of “the” and “rapist.” She aid it, not me.

That, my dear readers, and those who pretend to read to avoid discussing banal subjects with their significant other over breakfast, was a truly artisanal use of language. I think I will burn in hell for this post.

Smitten like a sex kitten,
Bartelby T. Scrivener-Druker upon Tyne, Just South of the River Thames Near Yon Burning Garbage Fire

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